Shopper's StopTips

Why Buying Refurbished Helps the Environment

Have you ever thought about the environmental impact of your purchases? How much do you think about the environment when deciding about buying a digital device? The life cycle of our smartphones, computers and other smart devices has a considerable impact on the environment, which is often overlooked. 4% of global carbon emissions come from the production of such devices. But what are the more sustainable and green choices when buying an electronic device? One way to be a more eco-friendly consumer is by buying refurbished electronics like refurbished laptops. In this article, we will talk about the reasons why buying refurbished products can help the environment.

Reduction of your carbon footprint

New electronic devices are technically more energy-efficient, but have you ever thought about the energy used by the manufacturer to produce the device? Only one-fifth of the total energy consumed over a desktop computer is consumed during its use, and the rest is consumed during its production.

As you know, not all the materials used to make up an electronic device exist in one place. Computer and smartphone manufacturing needs gold, silver, and many other types of metal and rare kinds of soil. The extraction of these raw materials, done in different parts of the world, has a significant impact on the environment and ecosystem. The long and complex supply chain of the minerals is bad for the environment, as shipping and transporting these minerals to factories that manufacture different parts of the electronic devices needs resources and energy. In the next step, various manufactured parts of the device are transported across the world to get to their final assembly destination.

Buying a new electronic device makes our carbon footprint run amok. Using a mobile phone for an extra year cuts its lifetime CO2 impact by a third, so buying refurbished products reduces your carbon footprint.

Reduction of the environmental impact of the production of electronic devices

130 grams of rare metals and minerals exist in every smartphone. But the overall damage and impact of the extraction of these materials are much broader. An average of 44 Kg of rock are extracted and destroyed to obtain these materials. Manufacturing a computer ends up using an average of almost 200 Kg of raw materials.

The exploitation of the mines to extract the materials has a catastrophic impact on water resources. For example, gold production releases cyanide and mercury that end up in rivers. The production of one ton of neodymium which is the material that makes cellphones vibrate contaminates 75,000 liters of water with toxic substances.

But this is not the only consequence of the production of electronic devices. To manufacture a smartphone and a computer, you will respectively need 1,000 liters and 1,500 liters of fresh water on average. These quantities are notable in the context of increasing water stress in many parts of the world.

The last, but not the least damaging component of the production of electronic devices are plastics, derived from fossil fuels. Smartphones are usually made of about 40% plastic, often mixed with other chemicals. The environmental consequences of using plastic are well-known to all of us.

Slowing down the constant production, which means constant pollution

Many people buy a new computer every 2-3 years; this consumption rate results in a lot of waste and pollution because the manufacturing of different electronic devices causes a lot of water and air pollution as a by-product. This constant demand means that the production of these devices has to continue; this means more negative impacts such as air and water pollution on the environment.

Every new electronic device is harmful to the environment in two steps: first, when mining the minerals and manufacturing the different parts of the device, and second when the products are shipped and transported across the world to get to their final assembly destination. Each of these steps creates a great deal of pollution.

By purchasing refurbished products, you prevent this not-environment-friendly process from being done over and over again.

Reduction of E-waste

Electronic waste is one of the fastest-growing waste streams globally. The continuous manufacturing of electronic devices generates tons of electronic waste, which is not easy to control at all. Recycling some of the electronic parts is not still possible, and the recycling process of other parts of a dumped device is costly and needs a lot of time and effort. Recycling materials also need energy and is another source of CO2 emissions. But what is the alternative? By choosing refurbished products, you can reduce the amount of electronic waste as it makes the life cycle of an already manufactured device much longer.

Reduction of toxic waste

All the computers we throw away end up in landfills, which damages the environment badly because these devices are full of toxic components such as chromium, lead, and flame retardants. These components can damage the environment, animals, and people. Toxic components can leach out of the device into the soil and then contaminate water resources which may pose a serious threat to anyone that comes in contact with it.

Final words

Some people are not sure if it is a good choice to buy a refurbished product, because they are worried that it may not be up to standard, or it may stop working after a couple of months and need to be replaced. But buying a refurbished computer from a reputable seller will prevent all these problems.

Living in the information age, we cannot ignore the damage our everyday choices can do to the environment. Buying refurbished electronic devices is a smart and easy way of taking responsibility for our choices and their impact on the environment, while also reaping all the benefits of a device having all the features we need. The next step you can take to reduce the negative impacts on the environment is to try to keep your device for as long as possible!

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