Electronics in a Circular Economy

Electronics in a Circular Economy

Outside of our daily food and coffee consumption, a lot of what is wasted often comes from usable gadgets that are thrown away even though they are in a perfectly usable condition. Globally, E-waste accounts for 50 million tonnes thrown away every year with a predicted value of around £42 billion. Many of us simply view this as an upgrade to a device we already have that has served its function or that the specs of the device are no longer at the speed we want them to be.

Household and daily appliances that have a life beyond the garbage dump, and how individual spending can decrease resource extraction of precious materials, cutting down on production, distribution, and waste. Being a consumer doesn’t necessarily mean not having access to the latest goods or not being an early adopter of new technologies.

Shops like CeX (Complete Entertainment eXchange) help push for a circular economy by allowing users to get value back from old technology. The company’s plan to make profit relies on customers exchanging their hardware for credit or cash, which can then be used to buy new and used products that others no longer want. They function similarly to how charity clothing store Traid does; their main ethos is to help reduce the production of clothing material (often either water-heavy or plastic-based resources). Cutting production of materials is the fastest way to reduce global energy usage and as conscious consumers, we should now look at affordable spending habits that still allow us to consume to a similar degree to what helps society grow as it has been.

After exchanging gadgets that I no longer use, I have since been able to afford the latest Nintendo Switch console and games for the last year without spending any cash. CeX is happy to take any working devices and has many repair shops across the country. For items that are broken and damaged, recycling isn’t always the best solution and efforts can be made to repair where possible. Alongside CeX’s Repair Clinics, your local repair workshop might help look at how functional your devices still are.

An example of which is the Switch’s joy-con controller, that since last month has been having a common issue amongst gamers where the thumb-stick is drifting in a single direction due to microbic dust getting into the controller. Purchasing a single half of the joy-con controllers is possible when buying from CeX, and unlike purchasing new it wouldn’t set me back £69.99, considering only one half is needed. An even more affordable option would be to repair yourself with the help of a 16-minute youtube video, or visiting a local repair cafe for free/ volunteered advice.

Author Marie Kondo similarly believes that we should only keep things that spark joy and fit within how we are currently trying to live our lives. When we own an item we are less likely to want to part with it due to what is referred to as the Endowment Effect. It dictates that the value of something we own will always be more valuable than the same product we don’t. Unfortunately what happens over time is that the product loses value and no longer sparks joy in our life. Leading it to have no other function at the end of its life when it could have been giving value to others. Putting this method into an economy that supports circular growth will allow our spending habit to sustain itself without the need for the production of goods.

We hope that you are able to find what you’re looking for on our website and will be continuing to update shops, product lists and usability in the upcoming months.