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February 11, 2020

Are Consumer Tech Habits Finally Getting Greener?

Environmental issues are becoming a big deal in the world. Companies are constantly finding ways to appear more green in order to attract new customers. Whether it’s replacing plastics with biodegradable materials or cutting out harmful materials, there are many different strategies that companies use in order to attract a larger audience.



In the beginning, it felt forced to push these environmental issues onto consumers. In fact, many people believed that it was simply a cost-saving measure hidden behind a virtuous message. But as the years went by, more and more people started to understand the benefits of green tech habits. It wasn’t just about improving the environment–it also came with benefits to the consumers themselves.

Paving the way for environmentally-friendly tech

One of the biggest concerns about the world of technology is waste. Items like batteries are difficult to dispose of due to the acids that leak out of the components, and there are also valuable metals and other materials that can be salvaged from older devices. Thankfully, the use of batteries and other disposable tech items is slowly starting to fade away. Nowadays, many of the electronic items we use can be recharged, and while this isn’t a recent development, its benefits have been amplified due to advances in battery technology.

A great example of this is with laptops and mobile phones, particularly when purchasing a new smartphone with no upfront cost. Batteries in modern devices last far longer than they did a couple of years ago. This is due to the batteries being able to hold more capacity while also taking in higher voltages, resulting in faster charge times and more power efficiency.

While we’re still producing a lot of tech waste due to the higher demand, companies are looking for ways to cut down on waste by making products easier to reuse. They’re also focusing on offering more energy-efficient items, often charging a higher price with the promise of future savings. This has led to consumers purchasing devices knowing that they can be recharged and reused, while also focusing on its longevity, thus producing less waste overall.

Recycling and reusing technology

Recycling and reusing is also another green concept that benefits third-party businesses and consumers. However, it doesn’t always directly benefit the consumer, and this has led to a bit of conflict especially within the repair industry.

If you’re interested in a smartphone with no upfront cost these days, you’ll likely visit a store and have salespeople recommend various devices for your budget. However, if you’re tech-savvy, you can pick up used and refurbished devices for a lot cheaper. Even telecom companies are offering similar deals, reducing one-off costs and monthly fees if the customer purchases a refurbished or used phone instead of a brand-new one.

Some manufacturers have tried to overcome this. After all, if a phone is repaired or refurbished, it means one less sale for the manufacturer. This is most evident from companies like Apple (News - Alert) that are actively trying to stop repair companies and refurbishers from tinkering with their phones. However, these plans have backfired and consumers are starting to take notice of the ludicrous prices for new phones, and how much cheaper it can be to buy used or refurbished ones.

This isn’t just for phones either. Everything from computers to speakers and even cooking equipment can be repaired, upgraded and ultimately refurbished. This gives people access to cheaper technology purchases, it reduces waste and is ultimately better for the environment. While we can’t completely avoid producing waste in the tech industry, we can certainly repurpose items that would otherwise be destined for the scrap heap.

Summary

The increase in consumers who are actively looking to recycle and reuse tech has had a huge effect on the environment. However, most consumers don’t realize the positive impact they have on the environment when they choose to reuse technology.

This is the key to encouraging consumers to develop environmentally-conscious habits with their tech. Instead of just telling customers that it’s better for the planet, it’s important to give them some personal benefit as well. In this particular case, reusing technology is just one of the many ways that consumer tech habits are getting greener.

Sadly, many companies are actively fighting against certain environmentally-friendly tech habits such as the reuse or refurbishment of their products. Luckily, consumers are starting to take notice of this and are responding in their own way. Whether it’s refusing to support those tech companies or fighting for their right to repair the devices they have bought, the world is slowly getting greener in regards to tech.



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