Going Green, By Not Buying New Stuff


Recycling is great. We’ve seen a pretty hard push in that direction recently. We like the fact that our modifying of hardware is generally saving it from the dump. Keep in mind, that just using old hardware can be advantageous too. We don’t always need the new shiny thing, maybe we’re fine with what we’ve got. That is exactly what lastyearsmodel.org is about. You can join their facebook group and even get stickers for your old devices.

29 thoughts on “Going Green, By Not Buying New Stuff

  1. Correct me if I am wrong, but aren’t newer appliances usually much more efficient than their older counterparts, even if those exist? Switchmode power supplies can achieve upwards of 90% efficiency with minimal engineering as opposed to the iron core transformer supplies that struggle to get 30% efficiency. Also, as devices are getting smaller and portability is a key issue, electrical usage is much less.

  2. @numa:
    I’m guessing this is aimed at the people who already have decent enough gadgets. For example, if you have decent smartphone, don’t go buy another one just because it’s newer. I don’t think they’re telling people to keep their 1970s dishwashers and water heaters in operation.

  3. My primary mobile device is an Axim X50v. It’s 4 years old, all scratched up, and the headphone port is broken, but I plan on fixing it up for and using it for many years to come. Buying new stuff isn’t always the answer, I like fixing what I have, especially if it is good.

  4. correction: it’s called the /story/ of stuff.

    The basic message here is that, despite some efforts, the current economy simply doesn’t run on recycling and renewable sources. At least 99% of it or so. Thus, it still is a one way road from the mining field to the landfill.

  5. newer electronics tend to be more energy efficient than older stuff. A sweet new LCD monitor may draw only 25 to 50 watts while your old tube monitor might consume twice that. That’s super wasteful and you might as well be crapping on mother earth’s face. If you want to buy and can afford it then go ahead and buy it. It’ll be good for the economy and you won’t be as guilty of destroying the planet.

  6. green technology is the new fat free. I am all for efficiency but slapping a sticker on something and marketing it as green is hogwash. Turn crap off when you do not need it, combine trips if you want. By conserving resources you conserve money. This greenest lap top, or greenest blast furnace, or greenest effing huge Boat with wheels business is dumb. Use what you need, no more no less. I saw the other day low carbon footprint burials. Everything is made of carbon (practically anyhow). should I feel bad about breathing? or eventually decomposing (that is after I am done with the breathing part)?

  7. Ok, I took a look at the site and sifted through two pages of comments (thank god for lunch breaks) and while I think that the idea is honorable, this is a good example of “Good Idea, Bad Implementation”.

    I have a Treo 600, which was released in October of ’03. It’s cracked, scratched, scuffed up, beat to hell and back, but aside from the original dirty screen protector has served me extremely well. I have looked at newer phones, but have not been impressed with them.

    My computers at the house have never been purchased “new” and are all made from parts obtained from friends, swap meets, and pc shows. Even network gear that I have has been given to me, swapped from someone for other stuff or donated.

    Unless something lets the magic smoke out, I don’t throw electronic equipment away and even if something did let the smoke out, I either will attempt to fix it or harvest the components for use in something else.

    I give other people parts, maintain my own inventory of parts, apply newer parts to older systems or if it’s too old and not wanted, I break it down, salvage what I can and dispose of the rest safely.

    I don’t do any of that out of “obligation” or “to be green” or any of that other crap. I do that because it’s the right thing to do.

    After carefully considering it, I don’t think that the site mentioned is targeted for us as an audience from Hackaday. I believe that it’s more targeted for those people that go about upgrading their phone/pda/computer/car/whatever in efforts to keep up with the joneses or have more money than sense. If it works, and it works well for you, then why upgrade. If you do upgrade, see if there is someone that can use your old one or make an offer to trade it in. (works for a lot of cell companies, etc..)

    And on a side note, am I the only one that’s getting a bit pissed about this whole going green nonsense? Why are people just now deciding to make equipment more efficient? Why do they design products with 200w power supplies when the machine they are connected only uses 50w peak (including surge)? Why is this all of a sudden the hottest thing since sliced bread? People need to be doing this because it’s the right thing to do, not just to feel happy about the latest “fad” tech.

    Ok, ranting over, I promise.

  8. This article brough to you by the new Obama administration to keep website stories on “green” to help the environment.

    Next up, how to recycle toilet paper with a tesla coil and a used cat.

  9. I do love people buying new stuff. It makes the economy turns, and new gadgets means the old gadgets needs new owners. And usually, this owner is me :o)

    Things works this way: Rich people (the top of pyramid) buys new gadgets. Old gadgets go to the trash (and are picked up) or donated to poor friends (the middle of the pyramid) which uses them up to exaustion, or break them and give them to hackers (the bottom of the pit) which disassemble them and reuse the parts. For me, this is great!

    My stuff is made mostly of old things and I have a “confortable” living. The only “new” toy I bought new was this computer I’m using. I’d not find in this days a 22″ LCD monitor in the trash :) But the rest…What we need is to encourage people to GIVE away the electronic trash and people be prepared to RECEIVE this electronic trash and reuse/recycle. World can be a way better place this way :)

    Buy components? Why? There are so many quality parts on the trash!!!

  10. I support this idea from the standpoint of wanting to see higher quality products. There was a time, not so long ago, when you could buy a tool and reasonably expect it to last your lifetime, and maybe the lifetimes of a couple of generations after you. My father (a cabinetmaker) still _uses_ tools from my great-grandfather’s old shop, and they work as well as or better than the equivalent modern hand tools. Consumer electronics are admittedly not the same as woodworking tools, but there is still something to be said for quality construction as opposed to cheap plastic crap. The problem is that our culture (as I perceive it) and, perhaps more significantly, the market today do not support the idea of making a larger initial investment but taking care of your stuff so that you don’t often make a repeat investment.

  11. i’ve never been totally sold on the concept of replacing currently functioning appliances with newer more efficient appliances.

    the reduction in use of resources would have to exceed the resources used to manufacture and ship the newer appliance, and the resources used to dispose of the currently functioning (but less efficient) appliance…

    i dunno…

  12. If you have old things, why not replace parts? Build a more efficient transformer for your electronics. Better yet, standardize and compartmentalize things to be replaced as time moves on.

  13. There is a recycling website that isn’t corny and centers around making people not stupid by explaining how to make neat shit out of found items. That website is called “instructables.com”

    I guess the point of “lastyearsmodel” is an attempt to reach people who aren’t currently recycling, but it’s just so uninspired and dull – just another place for would-be do-gooders to yell “SAVETHEPLANET!!!”

    I think this has been posted before but it’s a very efficient way to extract electronic components:


    captn plnt, I’m yr hro, gna tke pltion dwn 2 Z-ro

  14. i like the wierd glitches that start when phones start dying.
    Lets face it most peeps chuck their phone once the screens scrsatched and the battery doesn’t last.(about a year)

  15. Sorry Hackaday, bad effort.

    This website is just a forum for people who COULD afford to buy the latest gadgets letting everyone else know that they have held off. The result is a few replys of people sucking their dicks for it.

  16. OMG!! “I turned my original Xbox into a media center I use constantly, seven years after I purchased it. It just didn’t make sense to buy a whole new computer to sit under the television when I already had one there.”

    Can you _really_ do that? :-o

    Thank you Hackaday, you have, once again, given my wings reason to soar!!

    and of course.. who could possibly have worked out ALL the functions of their liepod…

    don’t recycle all we have to do to save the planet is build a sunshield in space… oh, and start living in space.. or send up balloons to catch greenhouse gases… the only ppl who gain from recycling are the recycling companies.. before long they’ll be selling our own shit back to us with a sprig of parsely on top

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