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Sustainable electric appliances - How to avoid electronic waste

Sustainability in electrical appliances - 10 green tips to avoid electrical waste

Do you want to avoid electronic waste and know more about the sustainability of electrical appliances? Then you've come to the right place! Headphones, fridges, smartphones, computers... our households are full of electronic devices. It's no wonder that every German produces around 19.4 kilograms of electronic waste per year - and that our throwaway culture puts us well above the global average.₁ Both in Germany and globally, the trend is rising sharply.₂ And this is despite the fact that the production and use of technology has countless ecological and social consequences.

In this article, I'd like to show you how you can use electrical appliances more sustainably and specifically avoid electronic waste. Let's go!

In advance you can find here already a short Overview about the contribution:

  1. Be aware of the ecological and social consequences
  2. Use devices for as long as possible
  3. Repair technology instead of buying it new
  4. Take care of your technology
  5. Don't keep buying the latest electronics
  6. Sell or give away unused and broken appliances
  7. Consciously abandon your technique once in a while
  8. Dispose of defective old appliances properly
  9. Prefer used electrical appliances
  10. When buying new, opt for fair, energy-efficient quality goods

1. Be aware of the ecological and social consequences

In 2019, 53.6 million tons of e-waste were generated worldwide - and in Germany, about 2 million tons of e-waste disposed of. Especially the Recycling, but also Production, material and use electronic products cause massive environmental problems and social grievances.

For the production of smartphones, laptops and other devices are rare earths, critical metals and others Natural resources In addition, CO2 is emitted in the factories, which further contributes to global warming. A large proportion of our scrap also ends up in Ghana in West Africa, where the valuable but often toxic raw materials are extracted mainly by Child labor is to be recovered from the old appliances.₄

Worldwide, the Recycling rate for electronic waste is only 17.4 percent - the rest ends up in landfills or incinerators. In Germany, half of all electronic waste is recycled - but that doesn't change the fact that we produce far too much waste in absolute terms. So there is huge potential for a more resource-conserving and respectful approach to our technology. The WHY is clear. Now it's a question of HOW!

2. Use devices for as long as possible

The longer you use your smartphone, computer, fridge or TV, the fewer resources you need and the fewer social problems you can expect. So make a conscious effort to ensure that your devices the longest possible service life have. You can find out exactly how this can work in the other tips on avoiding electronic waste. In the end, your own wallet will also be happy about it - and you can save money through sustainability.

3. repair technology instead of buying it new

Man repairing smartphone at table

This is one of the reasons why we live in a spoiled Disposable societybecause we can buy appliances 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at reasonable prices. For example, if a toaster breaks down, it will be often bought new for convenience - and the old appliance ends up in the bin.

But in the sense of the Zero Waste Lifestyle is to Spare parts and repair the appliance - thus protecting both nature and your wallet. Even if you don't have a lot of manual skills, you can still bring for repair.

4. be careful with your technology

Sustainability in electrical appliances also means treating them with respect. One Protective cover for your smartphone for example, can help to ensure that it remains intact and functional for as long as possible. As a general rule, I also recommend only switching on and using technology when it is really necessary.

5. don't keep buying the latest electronics

Just make yourself aware of which Privilege it is to own so many technical devices in the first place - and show appreciation for the things you have. Also, ask yourself about every potential new purchase: do i really need this? Or is this possibly just an impulse purchase - and the device will be back in the corner tomorrow? You don't have to wait for hours in front of an American hardware and software developer's store to pay a lot of money for the latest of the latest just because "everyone else" wants it too.

Think and live a little more minimalist - and rather invest your well-earned income in things that really enrich your life.

6. sell or give away unusable devices

What happens to electronics when they are no longer needed or no longer work is also crucial to their sustainable use.

An external hard drive or an old PC won't do? Then sell it or give it away on eBay classifieds to a hobbyist who may see even greater value in the technology.

You got a new cell phone as a gift and don't need the old one anymore? Then sell your old appliance at a flea market or online. There will always be someone who will be delighted! In the end, everyone benefits - the environment, the recipient and you.

7. consciously do without technology

Oversupply of technology - Sustainable use of electrical appliances

You may be familiar with the situation: your smartphone battery has run out - and with it, your favorite navigation device in all situations has gone. Suddenly you're on your own and realize how dependent you actually are on it. An insightful moment that shows you that it's time for a Digital Detox is.

Simply make a conscious decision to do without technical devices, Whenever possible - and only use them when there is no alternative. This is also a valuable tip for more sustainability with electrical appliances.

Tip: I've also written a separate article about how you can create a possible Fighting cell phone addiction can!

8. dispose of defective old appliances properly

At some point, every electronic device reaches the end of its life. To ensure the sustainable use of devices, it is important to Dispose of electronic waste properly. Due to their valuable and partly toxic substancesHowever, you must not dispose of them in household waste - only at recycling centers and electrical retailers. This way, the devices and their resources can be (re)recycled and used as sensibly as possible.

9. give preference to used electrical appliances

Technology is not only good when it's new! To avoid buying new appliances and further electrical waste, you should consciously opt for used appliances. Simply look for suitable offers at flea markets and second-hand portals and save your wallet. An old smartphone may often have a small scratch on the display - but as long as it works properly, this is definitely something that can be tolerated.

10. choose fair, energy-efficient quality goods when buying new ones

The only option is to buy new? Then make sure you buy environmentally friendly, efficient and fair technology. The "Blue Angel" is for example a Environmental sealwhich you can use to identify sustainable, fair and low-emission goods. The process from production to disposal is evaluated. Also the "TCO label" and the "Energy Star Label" are suitable.

You can find out how energy-efficient new refrigerators or televisions are at the EU energy label (from G - A+++). Ultimately, the necessary new purchase of electronics is the opportunity to permanently save electricity in the household.

Notice: Of course, a freezer that is 30 years old but still in good working order will have to be replaced at some point, as it is highly likely to consume many times more energy than its modern counterpart. In principle, it must be considered on a case-by-case basis whether replacing a functioning old product is actually more sustainable.

Sustainability in electrical appliances? No problem!

Consciously use electrical appliances in an environmentally friendly way

So when it comes to the sustainable use of electronics, there is something take a closer look! But your motivation to avoid electronic waste, wasting resources and social problems such as child labor should be higher than ever after this article. Not least because this project is pretty straightforward - and you benefit from it yourself.

I hope this article on sustainability in electrical appliances has helped you. Do you have any questions or tips on this topic? Then I look forward to your comment!

Stay sustainable,

Christoph from CareElite - Plastic-free living

PS: It's not just with your technical devices that you can conserve resources in everyday life. In the linked article you can find out what else you can do! Have fun!

₁ Mathias Brandt: Every German produces 19.4 kg of electronic waste (as of 16.09.2020), available at [09.12.2021].

₂,₃ Statista Gmbh: Generation of e-waste worldwide in the years 2014 to 2019 and a forecast up to 2030 (as of July 2020), available at [09.12.2021].

₄ Barbara Lich: How to avoid electronic waste (as of March 2017), available at [09.12.2021].

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* Links with asterisks are so-called Affiliate linksIf you click on it and buy something, you automatically and actively support my work with, as I receive a small share of the proceeds - and of course nothing changes in the product price. Many thanks for your support and best regards, Christoph!

Christoph Schulz

Christoph Schulz

I'm Christoph, an environmental scientist and author - and here at CareElite I'm campaigning against plastic waste in the environment, climate change and all the other major environmental problems of our time. Together with other environmentally conscious bloggers, I want to give you tips & tricks for a naturally healthy, sustainable life as well as your personal development.

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