Suppose you are looking for a new laptop for your college. You have a brand in mind, but is a little too expensive for your budget. You leave the idea behind and search a web portal for a laptop with lesser features of memory and processor for your budget. This is when you suddenly see a link in the website that says “Refurbished Computers”.
You don’t know what it is and so click on the link to check it out. Suddenly you see that the laptop which you were looking for is available at a price lesser than your budget!! So, you suddenly think “Does refurbished mean that it’s a second hand laptop?. But a second hand laptop doesn’t cost this much.”
So what does the term “refurbished” mean?
The term actually means to update or renew a product or material in some way or the other. In the case of electronic devices, if a laptop is shipped from one country to another, its packaging may be damaged badly in between the transport. There may not be any problem with the laptop, but the retailer may decide to send it back for repackaging. Such a package will be considered refurbished and such a laptop cannot be sold as a new one. So you have to decide whether or not you purchase the laptop for easy money or wait a little longer to buy a brand new one. But little do you know that your decision will have global consequences.
“The best decision to make is to buy the electronic device that is refurbished. Why? To avoid e-waste.”
Since 2006, USA alone has thrown away almost 15 million tons of electronic waste. All these wasted machines have a lot of toxic materials like lead, silver and platinum which can cause serious health problems for the ordinary people.
There are many organizations that collect these wastes and convert them for good use. Things like empty printer cartridges are recycled and then given to schools for fundraising. Some major companies recycle the devices, sell them and give a part of their profit in terms of class room tools, computers and other school supplies.
The main reason for such a lot of electronic waste is the constant demand and upgrade of products into the consumer stream. One main device that gets updated the most is cell phones. People tend to upgrade their phone every season as they get tired of the designs of the ones they own and are looking for something better. There are non-profit organizations that accept pre-used phones, refurbish them and sell them in developing countries where demands for wireless phones are more. But these organizations are not able to refurbish all the products that are thrown away as they are plenty in number.
The market for refurbished devices is making huge progress since 2009. This progress will make a huge impact on the environmental health.
Market for Refurbished Products
The main problem for makes people walk away from such devices is the misconception that the product will not last as long as its brand new version. This is also the reason that the refurbished devices cost less.
Another problem with electronic waste is that they are not being received by the manufacturers to be refurbished. If they are not refurbished they cannot be prepared for sale again.
Another main problem arises in the assembling of the product. In order to make the product work properly skilled people who can identify the problem and replace the damaged parts are needed. But this will cost more along with the additional expenses for buying and replacing the damaged parts, transportation and reshipping. Most of the companies and organizations are not able to afford such a huge expense and so limit the number of devices they refurbish.