My Sony Vaio laptop is 6 years old. Do you think that’s old for a computer? My husband (an electrical engineer savvy in all things computer-related) thinks it is very, very old. So old, in fact, that when I complained about needing a new laptop battery (since the original battery now lasts 0.5 seconds), he suggested I get a new laptop instead. He told me the new Sony battery would cost around $200, but that a new laptop would cost maybe $600. My husband said he didn’t want to spend $200 on a new battery when my laptop might die any second.
When this conversation first occurred (it replayed itself periodically for the next many months), I had just written a post about electronics waste, and I just couldn’t bring myself to dump and replace my still functioning laptop. But I did find not having a functioning battery very annoying. I have small children so we have to hide cords behind large pieces of cardboard under our desks, and even simply moving the power source was a hassle (not to mention that I had to turn on and off my laptop to move it). And, yes, I tried an external battery, but if I jiggled it even slightly it disconnected and my laptop immediately turned off, so it wasn’t any better than the original power source really. My laptop had basically become a desktop.
But, don’t worry, this story has a happy ending. Many months later, my husband informed me he had found a knock-off battery on Amazon. This battery cost $60, which my husband was OK with spending on my nearly-obsolete, one-foot-in-the-grave laptop. I figured that replacing the battery was so far superior to replacing my entire computer that I immediately bought it. We’ve been happily chugging along ever since.
But what if my laptop (or other electronic device) really does bite the dust? What then?
First, I will find a responsible place to recycle my dead laptop or other electronic device. You can find a list of responsible electronics recyclers near you here. At least once a month I get a flyer for free electronics and/or metal hauling left on my doorstep. That seems like a convenient option, but my sister, who used to work for Goodwill (which does
Second, I will consult resources for identifying “greener electronics” before making my purchase. I will also consider purchasing a refurbished device. My sister had a good experience buying a refurbished flat screen and desktop from Goodwill.
Whether you need to replace your electronics or not, consider taking action to promote responsible recycling of electronics.
How do you decide when it’s time to replace an electronic device?