Sustainability starts with gadgets

Ever more colorful, ever more versatile, ever more: the market for technical gadgets has known only one direction for years. It's hard to imagine that there were times when you didn't have knowledge in your pocket or when a wristwatch simply told the time.

Sustainability starts with gadgets

Ever more colorful, ever more versatile, ever more: the market for technical gadgets has known only one direction for years. It's hard to imagine that there were times when you didn't have knowledge in your pocket or when a wristwatch simply told the time. But in times of a broad public discussion about topics such as environmental protection and sustainability, fans of technical toys are naturally aware that gadgets play an important role in this context and that a rethink is needed in some respects.

Electrical waste from an ever faster turning cyclePushed by

intense competition, gadget manufacturers have been throwing one product innovation after another onto the market for years, at ever shorter intervals.

Whether it is a true innovation or just fine tuning of already existing products, all are presented as the ultimate, latest and most modern gadget of its kind and enough customers all over the world crave for just that; to always own the ultimate, latest and most modern. What is left behind is a huge and ever-growing mountain of unused equipment, the disposal of which is anything but simple. Often these are simply thrown together and shipped somewhere, where people then scrape the last usable remnant out of our electronic waste under undignified conditions. Disposal is a problem, as is production.

Even the extraction of raw materials in faraway countries often shows little regard for the environment, and the conditions for the workers who then assemble our devices often cannot stand up to serious scrutiny. So our appetite for the latest gadget is definitely a factor that contradicts the quest for greater environmental protection in many aspects. But what is the solution?

How can a love of technology and environmentalism come together?

In fact, as consumers, we have several levers we can use. One is critical questioning.

If the manufacturers of electronic gadgets notice that consumers don't just buy them, but want to know more about how they are made and how they are disposed of, then sooner or later this will lead to a rethink in the executive suites, because customer satisfaction is an important asset for these suppliers. Another lever is one's own behavior. Does every part have to be replaced immediately? Is a new acquisition really worthwhile? Can't this or that damage be repaired with a few simple steps? Such considerations are not only easy on the wallet, but also on the environment. And there is another option that adds to the financial aspect, namely picking up and selling.

In fact, many of the older devices that we smile at as being out of date are considered classics in interested circles that are worth a lot of money today. Who's to say that the cell phone with the paint damage or the tablet with the scratched back might not bring in a warm windfall in a few years? In any case, it often pays to treat gadgets with care and store them for now. And in terms of the environment, it's worth not buying more right away.