Digital Makeover: 5 Reasons You Should Fix Your Gadgets, Not Replace Them
Unless you’ve just woken up from a coma, you’ve probably heard that Apple recently announced the iPhone 5. Lots of people will be lining up the night before the September 21st release to get their grubby hands on the glossy screen—us included.
Our motivations are a little different than the average Joe: Here at iFixit, we get new gadgets to tear them apart and teach people how to fix them. We won’t shame you for wanting something new and shiny. But if your old phone is no longer up to snuff, you don’t necessarily have to shell out your hard-earned cash for a new one. Battery won’t hold a charge? Screen cracked? Camera stopped working? All of these things can be fixed.
Today’s task is to learn how and why to fix your gadgets instead of replacing them. Repair will save you money, of course—fixing a "red ringed" Xbox 360 costs just $30, less than one-sixth of the price of a new console. But here are five other reasons to fix your stuff.
1. It’s easier than you think.
Does the thought of prying apart your iPhone make you weak in the knees? We have step-by-step guides and instructional videos to walk you through everything from changing an iPhone battery to changing the oil in a tractor. If we don’t have a guide for it, the repair gurus on iFixit Answers can help you out.
2. Knowledge is power.
Learning that you don’t have to live with broken stuff makes life better. You, too, can be free of stuff that squeaks, wobbles, or flickers when it shouldn’t. Repair doesn’t just give you control over your stuff, it connects you with it—you learn what makes it tick. Plus, you’ll never be overcharged for a simple repair again.
3. You prevent e-waste.
About 75% of end-of-life gadgets in the US end up in landfills, incinerators, or e-waste dump sites around the world (pdf). The gadgets that are recycled are usually shredded, then sold as raw material. But recycled plastic and rubber can’t be used to make new computers—the mix of dyes and plastics means it can only be "downcycled" into park benches and freeway dividers.
4. You conserve mining and manufacturing efforts.
Mining is hard on the earth. In just the last month, there have been two big wastewater leaks: one at a gold and silver mine in the Philippines and one at a zinc mine, which contaminated an Amazon river tributary. Manufacturing has real human costs: the labor disputes at Foxconn manufacturing plants are infamous. When you fix your old stuff, you’re not contributing to the mining and manufacturing of new stuff.
5. You get more out of your old stuff.
Are you maximizing the potential of the devices you currently own? Could you get the same new, shiny feeling if you downloaded some free apps for your phone? Could you double your computer’s storage space by adding a second hard drive?
Repair is good for your brain, good for your wallet, and good for the planet. So go fix something.
30 Days of GOOD is moving! As of Monday 9/24, we'll be discontinuing the daily emails, so get over to our new site and register so you can keep following 30 Days of GOOD. There's much to explore in the new site. Looking forward to seeing you there!
The Rise of Drone Pizza Delivery Why the skies will soon be filled with flying, snack-bearing robots
How Helsinki Became a Public Transporation Paradise One European city plans to make car ownership obsolete within a decade.
Follow the Crowd NanoCrafter and the rise of group intelligence Why online gaming may just be the future of science
The Empathy Mirror Neurofeedback enables us to better see ourselves in the other. Recent discoveries in neurofeedback can teach you to be less of a dick.
Robots On Ice Probe the Arctic Why a team of research robots is investigating disappearing sea ice, and why you should care
Don’t Turn Away Colin Finlay photographs the consequences of climate change. You will never see more beautiful photos of the deteriorating state of our planet than the ones in this photo feature.
Puppy Love How dogecoin spawned an improbable community of giving What a canine-emblazoned cryptocurrency can teach about philanthropy
Positive In, Positive Out: How a USC Alumna is Coping with Lymphoma Coast Guard Reserves member Cassie Sulfridge, 28, had just graduated from MSW@USC, the Southern California university’s web-based Master of Social Work program, and was working two jobs when her life was turned upside down.
Politics by Yummier Means An Israeli-Palestinian popup restaurant and the precarious art of gastric diplomacy Two chefs win over hearts, minds, and stomachs in Jerusalem.
Rag Time Seven seriously f’d up t-shirts that somehow made their way onto shelves Brazil’s “lookin’ to score” tee is, unfortunately, part of a recent tradition of aberrant apparel.
LeBron James Complicates Cleveland's Comeback Story Returning to Cleveland, LeBron James contends with a city’s past and conflicting views of its future
The Equalizers For these Brazilian footballing legends, competitive play wasn’t a diversion from societal ills, but a means to redress them. A secret history of the fight for social justice among Brazil’s greatest soccer stars of the past century