Flashback: Christmas 2001

I will never forget Christmas of my senior year of high school. It was December 2001. For the younger people reading this, it was a time before technology had overtaken our every day lives. My parents thought they would surprise me with what I m sure they thought would be the best gift ever: a cell phone.

I hated it. Worst. Gift. Ever. Up until that point I had functioned just fine without a mobile phone, GPS laptop computer (what was a laptop anyway?) or any other form of what I interpreted as Big Brother. Why on earth would I want a cell phone?

My girlfriend at the time had her own landline, but that was simply out of necessity. (Her parents were tired of sharing the line with us) And we had skipped beepers. It’s hard now to even comprehend how we all managed to get by without our smart phones.

Flash forward: Fall 2019

Flash forward to today, and we are inundated by technology. In addition to the laptop I am using to type of this post, I have two older ones laying around, dormant. What should I do with them? They are out of date, work, but not well, but don’t really have value. And how about cell phones? My original blue Nokia 3310 “brick” phone was super basic, but lasted a long time. Now, most of us seem accustomed to replacing our phones annually.

I can’t even begin to imagine how many hundreds of millions if not billions of cell phone and personal computers are produced globally every year. We are no doubt producing far more than our ability to properly dispose of them.

Jonathan and Kathryn

Dell Outlet Featured Interview

I was interviewed by Dell Outlet for a comprehensive piece on how to buy pick the best computer. Although it wasn’t all about sustainability, I along with Kathryn Kellogg were called upon for the section on Computers for the Environmentally Conscious. Since we really don’t know what happens to our electronic devices after we are done with them, I am a huge advocate for taking good care of the devices we already have, and purchasing used and refurbished devices when possible.

The full article is available here:

Into the Wild: The Buyer’s Guide to Picking the Best Computer

I’d like to hear from you

What are your thoughts on the disposability of cell phones, laptops and other electronic devices? Do you have stockpile of old devices at home like me? Positive or negative, I would like to hear about it. Share your experience in the comments below, or by sending me an email!

About the author

Jonathan Levy is an environmental consultant focused in solid waste and zero waste lifestyle enthusiast. When he isn’t knee-deep in a dumpster, you can find him entrenched in a book, hiking the San Gabriel mountains, or tending to his composting worms.

Other posts by Jonathan Levy

Repairing my iPhone 7

The Cockroach of E-Waste (an oldie but a goodie)