The device is broken or just plain old. What should we do now? Using things as long as possible and repairing appliances is often the best for the environment. Except for old refrigerators, freezers, and dryers: you should replace them.
Have you ever wondered which is better for the environment: repairing a broken appliance or replacing it with an inexpensive new one? Two aspects are important. First, how much energy and raw materials are needed to produce a new device? Second, will the new appliances be much cheaper than what you have now? Refrigerators, freezers, and dryers, in particular, have become much cheaper in recent years. If so, replacing old, inefficient appliances with new, inexpensive ones is better.
Smartphones and ICT: Fix it
Regarding smartphones, tablets, and computers, it is clear that repair is always good. Their production requires relatively large amounts of energy and scarce raw materials. And in recent years, they have become somewhat more frugal. That is why it is highly recommended for the environment to have broken computers and smartphones repaired. You can also extend its life with a new memory card or battery. Therefore, pay attention to whether the repair is easy or not, and whether the parts can be replaced in the next ICT you purchase. Also, for example, whether it is possible to add more memory or a larger hard disk drive!
Dryers: Inefficient Replacements
Tumble dryers are similar to refrigerators. You may want to replace the exhaust or condenser dryer with an inexpensive heat pump dryer. They are much cheaper and require less energy to produce compared to the energy they have consumed over the years. Therefore, replacing a dryer with an energy label of A+ or lower with a new, super-efficient A++ is already good for the environment.
Refrigerators, Freezers, and Tumble Dryers: Replace
Depending on the age of your refrigerator and freezer, it is best to repair younger appliances and replace older ones. The reason is that while there are energy costs associated with manufacturing these appliances, they are negligible compared to the energy consumed over the years. The energy consumption of refrigerators and freezers has become very low over the past 15 years due to improvements in insulation, control technology, and compressors. In addition, materials for refrigerators and freezers can be successfully recycled. Therefore, it is always better for the environment to replace refrigerators and freezers that are more than 10 years old with energy-efficient ones that have a dark green energy label. Unless, of course, you already have a super-efficient refrigerator: there is no need to replace it.
You should not sell your old refrigerator or freezer or take it to a recycler. If you do that, the old electricity will soon be consumed in someone else’s home, which certainly won’t help you. If you want to know how much energy you can save by replacing your refrigerator, use an energy meter to measure the consumption of your old refrigerator.
Washing Machine or Dishwasher: Repair
Dishwashers and washing machines have not become very efficient in recent years. As a result, the repair is almost always the best option. Unless they are ancient, it is more environmentally friendly to buy a new one at a meager price.
Other Devices: Repair or Share
Kitchen appliances, personal care appliances, DIY appliances, and ICT devices should last as long as possible; since DIY appliances are rarely used, their power consumption is often much less than the energy required to manufacture them. Therefore, lending and sharing is a good idea. Many kitchen appliances (such as kettles and food processors) and personal care appliances (such as hair dryers and electric toothbrushes) have not become very efficient in recent years. Therefore, it is best to continue using them as they are or send them in for repair. Appliances with energy labels (such as ovens) may be more energy efficient.
Share your tips with us in the comments below!