iFixit is a wiki-based site that teaches people how to fix their electronic devices to extend their useful life, thereby reducing demand for new devices, while also reducing the waste stream.
TARGET USERS: Individuals, Businesses, Industry, Government
KEY CONSIDERATIONS: Every time you fix something, you help the planet by keeping hardware out of landfills.
MORE INFORMATION: https://www.ifixit.com/
Many people don't know that electronics contain hazardous chemicals. For example, the glass in a typical CRT has about ten pounds of lead in it. Most flat panel displays contain significant amounts of mercury. Plastic cases come coated with fire-resistant chemicals called poly-brominated flame retardants, some of the worst chemicals around. You can't throw those kinds of chemicals into a landfill because they contaminate soils and leach into the water supply.
To recycle electronics properly, you must carefully disassemble them and separate out each type of material. The raw materials can then be safely used to make new products. Unfortunately, that often doesn't happen. Many of the electronics that we think are recycled are simply shipped to the third world because it is expensive to recycle e-waste properly due to the labor-intensive process that it requires, and because environmental laws require e-recyclers to use environmentally-friendly processes.
Labor is cheaper in the developing world and environmental laws and enforcement don't exist everywhere, so containers full of outdated electronics are regularly shipped to places like China and Nigeria where people scrounge through the dead electronics looking for bits and pieces that are useful. After scavengers pick out the worthwhile bits, 'extractors' start breaking things apart, harvesting copper from wires and gold from electrical connectors. But without environmentally friendly processes, the chemicals from the extraction process seeps into the groundwater and remnant broken electronic scrap litter the landscape.
Maintaining and repairing devices dramatically improves their usable lifespan. If we doubled the length of time the average piece of electronics was used, we could halve the amount of e-waste created.
iFixit is a wiki-based site that teaches people how to fix their electronic devices to extend their useful life, thereby reducing demand for new devices, while also reducing the waste stream. iFixit provides step-by-step guidance with videos and detailed photos, so even the uninitiated can navigate the inner workings of their electronic device.
See https://www.ifixit.com/ for more information.
Whenever possible, it is best to fix or have your old electronics refurbished so they can be given a longer or second life. However, obsolete or non-repairable devices need to be recycled by an e-Stewards certified recycler.
The e-Stewards initiative defines and promotes responsible electronics reuse and recycling best practices worldwide. e-Stewards® is a global team of individuals, institutions, businesses, non-profit organizations, and governmental agencies upholding a safe, ethical, and globally responsible standard for e-waste recycling and refurbishment.
See http://e-stewards.org/ for more information.
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