We buy second hand clothes, furniture and even cars, but why do we never think to buy second hand electronic devices? The same goes for giving away our used items. We fill up trash bags full of used clothes to donate, advertise our old couches on Facebook Marketplace and recycle our food scraps but our old devices collect dust in the junk drawer. Much of the time, we simply don’t know how to dispose of our old electronics which means they either end up in landfills or sitting in a junk drawer for the next decade.
Recycling, refurbishing and saving money has never been easier when it comes to smartphones, tablets, laptops and other devices. It’s not only good for the planet, it’s also good for your wallet. There are also harmful chemicals and toxins in e-waste that are ending up in landfills across the world, where they can seep into the soil and underground waterways and contaminate our food and water supply.
What is a refurbished device?
A refurbished device has been owned and used by someone else, and then sold or traded in to a company that fixes them up and gives them a new life. This could mean replacing the battery, the screen or even the hard drive so that the device is as close to new and in the best working order as possible.
Refurbished devices are graded based on their appearance, for example a smartphone ranked “as new” likely has no physical signs of use or wear. Whereas a phone that’s ranked “good” may have a few bumps and dents but still works just as well. Refurbished devices should not be sold on to consumers if they are defective or of poor quality. However, it’s still important to keep in mind that buying a refurbished device means the lifespan may not be as long as a new purchase.
The longer you keep your devices, the better it is for the environment. Buying refurbished electronics means you aren’t actively contributing to the production of additional materials because resources for the device’s initial production have already been used. If more consumers make the switch to using refurbished devices, the pace of manufacturing and buying new devices will slow and allow for existing e-waste to be recycled properly.
What’s the price difference?
It’s no secret that as the years tick by, electronic devices become more and more expensive. Back in 2010 a new iPhone 4 retailed for $199 for a 16GB model and $299 for the 32GB model, compared to the latest iPhone 13 Pro Max that is retailing at well over $2,000.
Used goods will always be sold for a lower price, and this goes for electronic devices too. The good news is that major retailers are now stocking refurbished devices, with some brands coming in as low as $150 for a 2021 model smartphone.
The cost of refurbished devices will vary greatly depending on the brand, but be aware that major players like Apple are unlikely to be much cheaper than buying a new device.
Making the choice to shop refurbished could end up saving you the money you didn’t realize you were wasting, and better yet, have beneficial impacts on the environment. The truth is, you won’t notice much difference between a refurbished device and a new device, as long as you are shopping with a trusted retailer and getting a model that will last you as long as you need it to. So, next time you’re in need of a new device, think refurbished! The planet will thank you.