Saturday, August 27, 2016
Are You a Gadget Waster
According to a survey, almost 50% of people said they store old phones in a box or drawer at home. The trade-in value of all those old gadgets is $47 billion, according to the annual Mobile Mountain Study conducted by research study group OnePoll. Consumers still do not see the value and profitably in trading in their old mobile phones.
Most Americans are not interested in savings made by buying spare parts because in some instances it can be a hassle. We are a throwaway society - we want instant gratification and do not want to wait to buy anything including repairs.
Appliances and gadgets make life easier. The technology upgrade cycle is approximately 22 months and consumers are eager to oblige. Peers make fun of friends who have older models. Tech companies are aware of this and exploit it. Pressure from companies makes it harder to resist upgrading gadgets. Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile offer plans that encourage their customers to upgrade their phones every year.
Americans like to take the easy option and buy a new gadget. If their smartphone is broken, they do not want the hassle of going to a retail store or mailing the device back and waiting to get a new one when they can just go to a retail store and purchase a new one in a matter of minutes. In some instances, it is cheaper to repair a broken appliance or gadget than to buy a new one.
However, in some instances, older model appliances can be more costly to repair than purchasing a new one. Consumers have to weigh their options in terms of cost, quality and durability. However, the high demand for appliances and gadgets has caused manufacturers to lower manufacturing costs reducing the quality of the products produced so they can maximize profits. This results in a shorter shelf life of appliances and gadgets. In the past, an appliance could last for up to 10 years if maintained properly. As a result, appliances have to be replaced every two to three years. Cell phones used to last five years, now some barely last a year. According to a Spring cleaning survey, 68 percent of Americans suffer from compulsive gadget hoarding which results in consumers buying products they do not need.
The internet has made it easier to purchase appliances and gadgets and it is responsible for an estimated 3.4 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product. Advertisers do a great job of luring customers to the stores. Some consumers have fought back and are making changes. Some state governments have implemented e-waste laws but we have a long way to go.
Americans are not fully aware of the impact of throwing away gadgets or storing old ones in their home before they have reached the end of their lifespan. Electronics can contain lead, mercury, cadmium and other potentially harmful chemicals. Twenty-five states have passed e-waste-recycling laws, 15 of which include disposal bans. Seventeen states have banned electronic waste from landfills, requiring the waste to be recycled to prevent leach into groundwater.
Electronic gadgets release heavy metals such as lead, cadmium and mercury into the air and ashes. Mercury released into the atmosphere can accumulate in the food chain, particularly in fish - the major route of exposure for the public. If the products contain PVC plastic, highly toxic dioxins and furans are also released. Brominated flame-retardants generate brominated dioxins and furans when e-waste is burned.
There are also hazards with recycling e-waste. The hazardous chemicals in e-waste mean that electronics can harm workers in the recycling yards, as well as their neighboring communities and environment. If you are a gadget waster, consider doing at least one thing to save money and help the environment.