Electronics are built with death dates. Let’s not keep them a secret.

Here’s a dirty little secret of the tech industry: “Almost every device these days has a battery that’s going to wear out, and it’s a built-in death clock,” says Kyle Wiens, the CEO of repair community iFixit. Today, there are batteries in everything from your toothbrush to your vacuum cleaner. They are consumable products, like printer ink or tires.

But buying gear with batteries sealed inside is kind of like buying a car where you can’t change the tires. We just don’t realize we’re doing it, or how it’s contributing to our climate and sustainability crises.

Making new devices requires mining raw materials such as cobalt, often at great human cost. Disposing old gadgets is costly and is fuelling a rash of dangerous battery fires in trucks and recycling centres.

It’s why repairability is becoming so important. With the number of devices in circulation, and many only having batteries that last 2 or 3 years, this adds up to shocking amounts of waste (cost as well as garbage). Manufacturers that only provide updates for two years are also adding to the push to replace products that often work perfectly well still.

Yes we need to push back against this by using our gadgets longer, and maybe also compromising for a slightly larger size or no waterproofing.

See https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/08/02/why-gadgets-die/

#technology #gadgets #environment #obsolescence

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