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Do you have a space dedicated to broken electronic devices because you can’t decide on what to do with them? It could be a flickering computer monitor, an iPhone with a cracked screen, your old laptop that stopped displaying video or an Xbox 360 with the red ring of death. We all have had electronic devices fail on us and experienced the dilemma: Should I hold onto this or throw it out? It is a hard decision because although the devices are useless in their current state, they really are too costly to be okay with throwing out.  So what are your best options when faced with a broken electronic device? Repair it? Recycle it? Something else?

The first thing I would recommend before attempting a repair (thus voiding your warranty) or recycling is checking if you are still in fact under warranty. Sometimes warranty periods extend longer than you would think. As an example, a few months ago I was all set to disassemble my flickering ASUS VG248QE monitor and check if had a blown capacitor, but then I went online and discovered it had a 3 year manufacture’s warranty. Great! I was sent a replacement a few weeks later. I had basically the same experience with my GPU this month. Always check and re-check your warranty status before attempting a repair or recycling.

Repair vs Recycle

I believe attempting a repair on your device is very advantageous and should be considered before recycling. Replacement parts (LCD’s, digitizers, buttons) are very cheap on the internet, so it’s not like you will be out a bunch of money if you happen to fail. A successful repair means we have saved ourselves a lot of money. Not only in putting off the purchase of a brand new device, but also the cost of labor and parts that an electronic repair store. Device repair also keeps toxic materials out of landfills. Some devices contain over 1,000 specifically mined metals, so it’s definitely best to keep those resources in circulations and out of landfills. Another important part of device repair is that we increase our knowledge each time we do it – whether it was a success or fail. You are more confident with every successful repair. I believe with all the resources available to us on the internet: Ifixit manuals, disassembly tutorials, video teardowns, it is a mistake if you do not at least give it a try before taking it to be recycled. Recycling has its usefulness, but should be limited to devices that are beyond repair, obsolete or those which would cost more to repair than they are worth.