By Kevin Pink, Marketing & Development Specialist
We’ve all been there. Your phone or MP3 player has stopped working. You can send it to the manufacturer and pay shipping in addition to the cost of the repairs, or take your chances with a local repair shop. You can try to do it yourself, or you can buy a new one. Sure, buying new is expensive, but it would be expensive to repair also, so why not just get a new device, right? Repair actually costs less than you probably think. Plus, the long-term, large-scale cost of throwing out electronics as opposed to repairing them is massive. Fortunately, in addition to explaining the benefits of repair, we’ve also got a list of some great resources to help you get started!
– Financial Savings: This is the most obvious reason. Why buy a brand new computer when a few hours and $50 in new parts can keep your old one humming along? If your product is fairly-new, it may still be under the manufacturer’s warranty. Your repair could be free!
-Waste Reduction: Before you throw, know where it will go! Modern electronics contain a lot of toxic material, including heavy metals and mercury. If you throw them away, they end up in a landfill. Those toxic chemicals can leech into groundwater.
-Community benefit: Give your phone a second life! Maybe it doesn’t charge, and replacing the battery would solve that problem. But you’ve already got a new phone. If a small fix like replacing the battery could make that phone work again, that phone could go to someone who can’t afford one. That would let them enjoy the benefits of the technology as you have. Your phone stays intact and you help someone else in the process- it’s a win-win!
-Job creation: Everyone brings their car to a shop for periodic repairs, right? Why do we just throw out our electronics when they stop working? According to IFixIt, there are 60,000 computer repair businesses in the US employing 175,000 people. These jobs are difficult to outsource to another country as well. Why would you ship your computer (to say nothing of a washing machine or oven) across the world for repair when you can take it downtown?
Now you know the reasons you should be interested in repairing things. But how do you get started? As promised, here are some links to help you begin!
–IFixIt hosts how-to guides for repairing all kinds of electronics and accessories. From smartphones to game consoles and cameras to cars, IFixIt has an illustrated guide to fixing many of the things that can go wrong with electronics. They also sell some replacement parts and tools you may need.
–RepairClinic hosts how-to videos and guides for many other appliances and devices. This includes items like home appliances and power tools. They and also sells parts and tools.
–How Stuff Works is not built as a repair guide hub. However, it offers easy-to-read explanations of the theory behind, well, how stuff works! This can help you understand the internal components of your devices before you begin to repair them. With some creativity, you can also find some repair instructions!
–Youtube hosts a surprising amount of Do It Yourself videos that may also be able to assist, if you prefer your repair guides in motion.
-Consulting a professional repair service is also an option to consider. The fix will cost more than if you did it yourself. However, if you’re in over your head or would feel more comfortable, there’s no shame in getting help from the pros.
If you’ve already examined every opportunity for repair and it just doesn’t make sense, there is a way to responsibly recycle e-waste. Many times, attempts to recycle e-waste results in a very labor- and energy-intensive process. This process often ends with the leftover components deposited in a landfill. Fortunately, there are two standards of independent certification for e-waste recycling. They ensure that e-waste is handled properly throughout its end-of-life processing. When choosing an e-waste recycler, be sure they have R2 or e-Stewards certification. Take a look at RecyclingWorksMA’s Electronics Recycling page for more information.
So now that you know why electronics repair is so important, and you’ve got the resources at your fingertips to repair so many things, the only question is what will you be fixing first?