Author: John Yarham
I have spent the whole of my working life as a Technician in the IT and Electronic service industry, starting out as a Radio and TV Engineer. Did you know that DEC (remember them?) only hired ex TV Engineers to service their equipment out on the road? That was very nearly the best job in the world…
My current role as a Technical Consultant at Vissensa is one that allows me to see both sides of the technical / sales environment, which is really interesting. As technicians we’re the first port of call when something needs fixing – and we are genuinely passionate about all things IT. If you know somebody in a technical role, you may have noticed they will likely have several opinions about anything IT related, own most of the latest smart gadgets, and probably have several broken ones lying about, too. Did you know that there are lots of useful components in the boards of laptops and workstations that can be re-used?
In my office and at my home, you’ll find several boxes labelled ‘really useful stuff’ that I might need at some point, or have stored away to fix at a later date. The last piece I collected was a BBC Model B with upgrades, which I stored next to an old IBM XT that I may get going again one day. I’ve actually just finished repairing an old Roberts Radio that was given to me for a new lease of life!
It’s not just because of my interest in technology that I keep these things – it’s because I am painfully aware of the effect of throw away technology on the planet, too.
The real issue is just how much Technology ends up in the bottom of land fill. So what can you do to help? Try and reuse / upcycle laptops that have finished their business life. You could donate them to schools for pupils who don’t have resources to buy brand new, or even used in the classroom. You can donate your old computers and laptops via various organisations – for example: https://turingtrust.co.uk/give-computers/
I do some part time work in a local charity shop repairing old electronics and re-wiring lamps and electricals making them presentable and safe to reuse. WEEE Regulations are in place to limit landfill, and mean that you can’t recycle electricals in municipal tips, so a huge amount is broken down for basic components or just minced up for the precious metals that can be recovered – which, in its own way, is good.
There used to be Doll’s Hospitals and Radio and TV repair shops in every town – and I would like to see a return of these shops, and to see society re-using or upcycling old or broken technology for repair or spare parts. Maybe with the likes of the BBC’s The Repair Shop it will start to happen. This is a great site o search for local Repair Café’s near you: https://repaircafe.org/en/visit/, and other resources for reusing broken items I’d recommend are Hack Spaces or Makers Spaces https://www.hackspace.org.uk/.
Recycle, Reuse not Refuse.