Tech expert Peter Legge-Hughes says more people should up-cycle their computers and try to be more sustainable in the way they use technology. The Sydney-based owner of BOXFIX helps people reimagine and recycle their computers. Here, he gives us some easy DIY tips to get more out of our devices and save on time and money.
How do you up-cycle your old technology?
Most technology can be upcycled if it’s still working, even then it’s possible to combine multiple parts from machines together to fix one old piece. Depending on what it is I can upgrade laptops, desktops and other devices with more memory or new faster disks or just wipe them and put the latest operating systems on. I find customers are very interested in re-cycling their old tech and also using recycled tech in their homes or businesses, from one small job for an issue with an item I may see the benefit of using recycled tech to benefit them.
Upcycling mainly means adding newer parts or upgrading the operating systems on older devices, this can bring them back to life a number of years.
What are the benefits?
Rather than technology ending up in landfill, I aim to give old tech a new lease of life and stop the environmental impact of throwing away tech just because a newer version is available. Some of the benefits are:
- Environmentally it stops landfill ending up as a dumping ground for old technology
- Old technology that I can re-purpose can be used again for many years in different situations such as for children, students or older family members without the need for the latest and greatest tech
- Cheaper than buying new technology
- Makes you feel good about re-cycling tech rather than dumping
How can you tell what can be upcycled? Any examples?
Technology that can be upcycled for example would be an older iMac that’s running slowly, a disk format and reload of OS could help but by far the most economical and most dramatic upgrade would be a new SSD drive and an OS reload, even old data from the previous disk or backup can be put back on retaining customer applications and data.
Examples of tech that can be upcycled are most PCs and iMacs from 2012 onwards but not newer items due to the technology inside them.
Do a lot of people throw away technology that can be up-cycled?
I have seen a lot of printers, PCs, Apple products in the rubbish, some may not be working, but with the right parts they could be working again and combing many old units to take good parts from, you can get some working again. TVs seem to be thrown away readily even if working, these can find a home with someone or a charity that can provide these items to people less fortunate. I feel that people don’t know what to do with their old IT and therefore once deemed useless they just aim it at the rubbish bin or the council clean up.
If we want to sell our technology, what are the benefits of doing so?
- Apart from obvious environmental impacts such as keeping old tech from landfill, we keep machines going longer.
- We can make some money to purchase new kit if that is the aim.
- You can be assured that old technology that goes into my stock will be reused as much as possible.
How can I be more sustainable with my technology?
- Don’t upgrade just because it’s new, may be slightly faster, or cooler. Think about what you would do with your old tech first.
- Can someone else benefit such as family or friends?
- Search for someone like BOXFIX Technology and contact them to ask about up-cycling, you could be offered a good price for the old tech.
- Get tech repaired where you can if it’s reasonable to do, don’t just upgrade and throw away.
What are the security benefits of upgrading your system?
Getting your machine onto the latest available Operating systems or application versions will help stop vulnerabilities that allow people to take over your machine or email or gain access to accounts and passwords. Most manufacturers provide security updates in their latest OS and applications so it is important to stay as up to date as possible.
What are the risks if you don’t?
- You could risk losing a lot of money as this is the main aim of people who take advantage of security flaws.
- Identity theft is also a huge security risk.
- Losing data by having machines encrypted through security vulnerabilities is a huge risk.
About Peter Legge-Hughes
Peter support business and home users for all of their technology, not just laptops or one type of operating system, if it’s got tech in it he will support it.
His company installs and upgrades of IT and he also helps people with their home technology once they have moved homes.
Especially now with current lockdowns due to COVID-19, he offers remote support with secure support tools or even Facetime and Skype to guide people through setups.