E-Waste in our not so distant future.

E-Waste is a problem. We all know, we’re all aware of it, but when companies have made it so easy to replace aging tech through lack of update support and various other methods, where does it leave us? We know companies such as the large fruit named company offer recycling programs to justify their actions, but is this really eco friendly?

I think not personally, and here’s why.

We’ve helped recycle in the most environmentally friendly way, dozens of laptops, maybe even hundreds, we do this by stripping for parts, up refurbishing them for a new lease of life. The beautiful truth of this is this uses the least amount of resources, it factors in keeping these laptops out of landfill or container ships, and ensures the longest life possible is achieved from these laptops or computers and that in my book, is the most eco friendly way of recycling.

Most general recycling programs are based on recovering precious metals, and whilst this is important too, I am concerned this process which requires vast resources is being called upon too soon for tech which has years of life left in. For example, why should you chuck your 2011 macbook away, when it can browse the internet with ease, complete every day tasks without any hickups? They are sold with powerful processors from the get go, so they remain capable for longer which is great, until the company behind the software updates decides when you should throw it away through updates, or lack of. This is one of my biggest bug bares of the tech industry, an industry that greatly endorses all the climate change noise around us, and panders to the climate emergency. But the reality is, they are the ones rendering your iPhone 6 useless, requiring you to throw it away and buy a new one so you can use modern apps.

And thats before we get to Covid-19. 

The more pressing issue is cheaply manufactured netbooks designed for one thing – fill the gap where the larger manufactures cannot keep up. We’re all aware of the national shortage of laptops last year, and still continuing to cause havok this year, but never fear, because there are cheap laptops out on the market that’ll do just fine. Except they don’t. I fear we’re on a cliff edge of e-waste and we’re about to go tumbling over the side, into a skip of odd brand named laptops and phones, devices of all sorts, failing before their warranty is up, but something we’ve noticed here at Holsworthy Computers is these small new companies have so many hoops to jump through to claim a warranty, its often preventative. Quite alarming really, but cheap is cheap, and how can you expect a company selling a cheap laptop to have a large repair centre based in the UK? or even Europe. Well, they often don’t.

It gets much worse than that. Now, we’re all aware, a laptop is a group of components connected together inside to bring us our cat videos, and reluctant video calls to work. But, what if you found out, your SSD (The bit that stores your documents, photos and other data), the processor, RAM, wifi card and motherboard was all mounted on one PCB rendering any data recovery or repair nearly impossible without specialist equipment not easily found in repair shops? Yup. Thats the case with these cheap laptops. The industry has a set standard of ports and connections which makes repairs and data recovery possible, but take that away, you soon end up with a problem if you haven’t backed up. Almost every Chromebook and netbook with 64GB of storage or less is like this, and that makes up for nearly every sub £300 laptop, the price range that most educational laptops fit in, which are being dished out left right and centre by the government.

That cliff edge will soon be upon us in a year or two, because we can’t repair these laptops if an SSD fails, or the RAM develops a fault, only someone with specialist equipment can do so, and who’s going to foot a £200 repair bill for a £250 laptop? The same applies with tablets and smart phones. Even worse now some fruit themed manufacturers are coding every component to eachother, so replacing your screen brings up an annoying notification to say you’re not using a genuine screen. This surely isn’t the spirit of environmentalism? Buying a phone where the manufacturer can only repair it without the need of nagging notifications and warnings, and the alarming fact that once they decide that phone is of a certain age, can discontinue repairing.

Well, we’re in 2021, we’re all crying out for our environment, and the loudest voices, the tech industry aren’t making it easy for the every day person, you, to reduce their carbon footprint through the use, repair and recycle of your perfectly usable aging tech.

I’m clearly biased being a repairer myself, I support reuse the view that the best form of recycling is reuse,