Sustainable Shopping

Why You Should Buy Secondhand Electronics

Discover the environmental and economic benefits of buying secondhand electronics in a world drowning in 40 million tons of e-waste annually.

Did you know that 40 million tons of e-waste is produced every year? E-waste, also known as electronic waste, is what’s produced when devices like TVs, computers, and cell phones are thrown away. Buying secondhand electronics can help alleviate some of this waste  

New electronics are released at an increasingly rapid rate, but that doesn’t mean past models of devices are any less efficient or effective. In the US, the average person changes their smartphone about every 2 and a half years - but 77% of the devices are still working.

Here’s a deeper dive into the benefits of buying secondhand electronics.  

Environmental Benefits 

Harmful substances such as battery acid, lead, cadmium, and PVCs can be found in common electronics. When electronics are disposed of and turned into e-waste, these substances can leak into soil and waterways. One common way to mitigate e-waste is to practice e-recycling, which repurposes old electronics for new devices and goods like jewelry. While recycling electronics is helpful, only 25% of trashed electronics in the United States are recycled. Recycling is also often done improperly, which results in hazardous outcomes. An effective way to combat this problem is purchasing secondhand electronics that would otherwise be disposed of.

Secondhand electronics also save resources and CO2 emissions. It's estimated that buying a refurbished device results in five times less carbon emissions than buying a new one, and require four to five times less resources. 

Financial Benefits 

New electronic products are expensive and hard to find due to the ongoing chip shortage and supply chain issues. Buying used products is cheaper and the supply is readily available.  Back Market renews used electronics from a variety of brands and sells them at discounted prices. In doing so, these products are expertly refurbished for dramatically below retail price. Back Market also supports trade-ins, which encourages consumers to trade their old devices for money back.  

Social Benefits 

Beyond the environmental and economic benefits of buying secondhand, there are also social benefits. E-waste is a growing health concern, especially in countries with high levels of poverty. The antiquated recycling techniques of burning cables and acid leaching expose toxic chemicals and metals like hydrocarbons and mercury the people and communities around areas where e-waste is disposed of. Secondhand electronics can help combat this issue as it weans people away from disposing of their old electronics. The less people fill landfills and recycling centers with electronic goods, the less e-waste accumulates. 

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