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Natural Awakenings Tucson

Sustainable Living Tips for Electronic Devices

Mar 31, 2019 07:56PM ● By Don Gibbens

In the quest toward sustainable living, we want to live in such a way that we leave as little a footprint on our world as possible. We should be living and acting smarter in relation to the things that we acquire and do. With that in mind, here are some ideas on what sustainable living means in regards to computers and electronic devices.

Purchase new devices that can be maintained. For example, there are few printer manufacturers who actually make repair parts any more. Most printers are simply pathways to selling cartridges. Unfortunately, it is often cheaper to buy a new printer when we need cartridges. What a waste.

Decide to replace units on a longer timeline than previously done. Many large corporations have started recycling their computers on a four-year cycle rather than a three-year cycle. Raytheon, here in Tucson, is doing this now. For the planet, make it a five- or six-year cycle.

Delay gratification. Don’t replace that phone the minute the two-year contract runs out. Most of the features in those “new” phones will probably never be used, anyhow. If a particular feature is needed, research and find a lower priced version of the flagship phone. For example, although the new Apple flagship phone is nearly $1,500, they have a model at $750 with nearly the same features. Sustainability here means financial sustainability, too.

Maintain rather than replace. We wouldn’t buy a car and then not maintain it, would we? The same is true of computers. Maintenance includes using “Dust Buster” air to clean out keyboards and fans. It also includes maintaining the system software so that the “bad guys” don’t creep into them with their viruses, malware, ads or other mischief. This keeps the computer running at near new speeds and removes frustration.

Buy refurbs rather than new. For doing web browsing and general office work, a three- or four-year-old machine will work as well as a new one, and at about half the price.

Recycle rather than dump. Computers and other electronic components are “gold and silver mines”. Older units which are at their “end of life” can be taken to recyclers who “mine” them for gold, silver and anything else of value. That is sustainability. This completes the cycle, making the metals and other rare items available again.

Don Gibbens, owner of GE Computing, offers services to update, refurbish, recycle and repair computer devices in the Tucson area. Connect at 520-784-1243, [email protected] or See ad, page 16.

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