Why E-Cycling Matters:
Part Two

Death of a Repairman

As I continue with "Why E-Cycling Matters", I would like to address the vanishing local repair shops.

This collector culture is not only creating gigantic amounts of e-waste, it is also making the local repairman an endangered species.

Case in point: Weekly, I have people dropping by our shop asking if we repair flat screen TVs. I tell them no and that I don't know of any repair shops in our area.

Once upon a time there were many TV repairmen. My grandfather was one of them, but they slowly phased out as TVs were cheaper to buy. People thought nothing of throwing their broken or outdated TVs away and bought new ones.

Between 2012 and 2014 the number of repairmen in America dropped 4% to somewhere around 130,000 jobs. These jobs aren't becoming scarce because people no longer want to do the job....the jobs are becoming scarce because large corporations like Nikon, Canon, Sony and Apple are refusing to supply independent repair shops with parts and manuals.

Good News: E-Cycling Matters to These Producers

Let me now switch gears and highlight a couple of large corporations that are working well with independent repair shops while contributing to the recycling and repair of their products.

Dell began a partnership with Goodwill Industries in 2004 called Reconnect. Through this program Dell encourages people to take their used computer equipment of any brand to a local Goodwill Industries participating member. From there, the equipment is either refurbished or recycled under strict e-waste standards. To date, this program has  kept over 427 million pounds of e-waste out of landfills.

Dell also provides repair manuals and parts to the public in order to keep their products running well.

We see more late model Dell computers in our shop than any other brand. This is not because they break down more, it is because they last longer and their owners hold on to them or pass them down to friends and family.

They are quality machines built for 50,000 hours of runtime at least. The newest laptops on the market are lucky to make it to 500 hours of runtime before catastrophic failure.


This next company is not an electronics company but their story so  impressed me, that I have decided to buy their products.

The company is Patagonia. They sell outdoor clothing and gear and work hard to make high–quality products, using materials from responsible suppliers, and they guarantee the products for life. The other incredible service they provide is repair and recycle centers. If your product ever needs repair, you can send it to Patagonia for repair or they now provide free repair manuals on the iFixit.com site.

Patagonia also has a program that allows you to send your items that are no longer wanted, to Patagonia to be recycled. Or the garments can find new life through Yerdle which is partnering with Patagonia. Yerdle offers Yerdle Dollars for each donation. These Yerdle Dollars can be used towards purchases on Yerdle. This business model helps to move objects to people who want or need them rather than using finite resources to make something completely new and possibly cheaply made.

Both of these companies understand that it is important for people to have the choice to either repair what they own or take it to a trusted, local repair shop. This makes happy and loyal customers for the brands they buy.

Companies like these understand that e-cycling matters.


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