iFixit’s pretty fond of this big blue marble that we call home. We’re also pretty fond of electronics. So, in honor of Earth Day, here’s four really easy things you can do to save the earth—and save your electronics from the landfill too. What’s the big deal about electronics, you might ask? By weight, electronics require far more resources than any other product. So it makes sense to keep electronics around for as long as possible.
People lost their collective minds over Apple’s recycling program this week—hailing the tech giant as a corporate Captain Planet. CNN Money declared that “Apple recovered 2,204 pounds of gold from broken iPhones last year.” The Verge praised Apple for recovering “nearly 90 million pounds of materials from Apple devices.” (Clearly, that new Liam iPhone recycling machine is working overtime.) The only problem: None of that is really true.
On Monday, Apple held one of its regular keynotes—an event usually dedicated to new products and upgraded specs. But Apple execs led the event with something a little different this time: its new recycling robot, Liam. So, what’s our take on the new disassembly superpower? Our co-founder Kyle Wiens recently published an article with Wired.com—breaking down why Liam is a step forward, and how the recycling robot is likely to fall short.
Recently, our co-founder Kyle Wiens sat down with Scrap Magazine for a Q&A about our mission to teach everyone to repair everything. The interview appeared in Scrap’s November/December issue, but Scrap is graciously allowing us to repost part of article here. We’ve chosen just a few of our favorite questions from the full interview—but you can see the entire Q and A in this issue of Scrap Magazine. Check out an excerpt from the interview on our blog.
We’re not the only ones who get riled up about repair. Recyclers are also banding together for their right to reuse and repair equipment. Late last month, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) adopted a policy in support of their members’ efforts to reuse, repair, and reintroduce products back to the marketplace.
Last year, the brew barons incited the wrath of java drinkers everywhere when they integrated DRM into their coffee machines—an attempt to stop customers from using third-party coffee pods. Keurig took a huge hit, culminating in a buyout earlier this month. Now, the company is facing criticism on yet another front: unrepairable, unreliable coffee machines.
Dave Hakkens, creator of Phonebloks, went to the most infamous landfill and scrap site in the world: Agbogbloshie, which is repeatedly labeled as ground-zero for e-waste by press. The reality on the ground is more complex. Agbogbloshie isn’t just a burning e-wasteland—it’s a community of about 40,000 people. There are schools, homes, community centers, an onion market, scrappers, repair shops, and markets for used goods. So while Hakkens went to investigate e-waste, he found so much more.
According to a new EPA report, Americans increased their overall production of municipal waste in 2013 to 254 million tons of waste—or 4.4 pounds per person per day. But e-waste was one of the few categories where recycling rates increased significantly—by ten percentage points in just one year. So, good job everyone: fewer electronics are winding up in the trash heaps. But we’re not done yet. Recycling is just one piece of the larger moving puzzle that is sustainable resource management.
The federal government just dropped EPEAT from its green electronics standards. The policy change—made without warning—was part of an updated executive order issued last month, which simply omitted EPEAT from the government’s previous language. When it comes to evaluating a device’s effect on the environment, EPEAT is the gold standard. The tool ranks products as either Gold, Silver, or Bronze—depending on adherence to a set of green criteria. No word if another standard will take its place.
Just how much e-waste is piling it up around the globe? A new infographic from CustomMade breaks down the good, the bad, and the deadly. According to CustomMade, “the global volume of refrigerators, TVs, cellphones, computers, monitors, and other electronic waste will weigh almost as much as 200 Empire State Buildings”—evidence that our existing “out of sight, out of mind” mentality really isn’t a viable long-term option when it comes to e-waste.