Even though we consider ourselves a fairly ‘green’ household...we do love our electronics. Our not-yet-two-year-old can navigate an iPad with proficiency (we’ll put it that way).
Despite our modern indulgences, we still try to deal with them in a responsible way. Here’s what we’ve found works for us:
Buy only what you need - Kris is able to upgrade his phone this summer. Although it’s tempting, he has committed to using his current one until it no longer works, or is no longer supported.
Buy quality - We bought a high-end laptop six years ago with the hopes that it would last, and it has! We have used it a LOT and its hardware is still keeping it up with the times.
Repair if you can - Since we invested a fair amount into our laptop, we decided to replace the worn out battery and power supply, rather than just get a new laptop. We also had Kris’ cell phone repaired so he could continue using it.
In general we’ve found our higher-priced electronics are better manufactured for being repaired than inexpensive stuff. You’d also be suprised at what can be repaired to be like new, such as water-damaged cell phones. (Thankfully we haven’t had to deal with that yet...
Buy used - After I lost my cell phone, I decided to buy a used one. It was far cheaper than the other options, and I still got a quality phone. [A caution: The first phone I looked at turned out to be stolen! Always ask for original receipts or some other proof of purchase.]
Kris has also found some great deals when buying used audio equipment. He has developed a penchant for audiophile-quality equipment. Thankfully he’s frugal about it!
Recycle when it’s toast - If Kris lives with the compost queen (that’s me), I live with the electronics recycling king. Since Kris works for SWEEP, let’s just say there’s no question about what happens to old electronics around here.
All of our old audio-visual equipment goes to SARCAN. Dead household appliances we take to London Drugs (and we often buy new stuff there to support their excellent recycling initiatives).
Here’re a few other helpful ideas:
We have marked containers in the house for dead batteries and light bulbs. That way whenever we know we are going to a store where they can be reycled, we just bring the container along with us.
We have found Kijiji, an online classified service run by eBay, to be a great resource for purchasing used equiment. It is also a good place to find advertisements for businesses that repair electronics.