Monday, July 14, 2008

This cell phone won't die. So I hang on to it.

I have a cell phone that is about 6 years old. It has a crack in the plastic over the screen. I have dropped it countless times on sidewalks and ceramic floors, given it to small children to play with, yet it won't die.

At first I wanted it to die. I wanted it to die because I fantasized some day I would get a sleek, glossy, fully loaded iPhone. Never mind that we can't justify the $70 monthly bill for cell phone service. And never mind that I really don't need all of the functionality that it offers. But they sure are nice. Yes, I am human after all.

Now I'm looking at this old phone of mine in a different light. It's become a symbol to me. My own little way of rejecting consumerism. "Forget you, fancy-pants phones! I've got old reliable that works just fine!" The reception is good and I've never had to replace the battery. It has text messaging for that extremely rare occasion when I use it. Work doesn't require a cell phone. And I occasionally question whether or not I need a cell phone at all.

I'm thoroughly convinced cell phone companies are in the business of making us feel like we need their latest and greatest models they are constantly pushing. The cell phone industry reminds me of women's fashion - they change it up once a quarter (er, I mean season) so we can feel like we are seriously lacking if we don't have what Joanie Jones has.

I'm not impervious to the desire to buy new things. And I'm not condoning hanging on to (hoarding?) dilapidated items. But I am making a conscientious effort to make my stuff last, and buying used or refurbished, when it makes sense. Less waste, fewer electronics-generated toxins released into the environment, and good feelings all around.

Does anyone have thoughts on buying used/refurbished electronics? I'd love to hear your thoughts and stories (good, bad, or otherwise!)


Tina Vega said...


Everyone makes fun of my 10+ year old cell phone. Though I look fondly at smaller, sleeker models - I love my cell phone and see no need to replace it when it works!

Anonymous said...

I was wondering just this morning, what people do with all their old phones after these multiple upgrades? How do you get rid of them?

Striving Green said...

I've had 3 cellphones in the past 12 years. I donated 1 to a women's shelter, the second was recycled at a "cell-phone" recycling drive at work, and I still have my 3rd.

I'd recommend calling a women's shelter and asking if they take donations. First research what you need to do in order to prep your phone for reuse. I'm not sure what that entails (erasing the phone book? removing the SIM card?)

Or try exploring this site I found:

Annie Jones said...

I'm on my third cell phone, but only because the first two quit working and if there's one thing my hubby can't fix, it's a cell phone. :(

I always hate, upgrading phones. I get used to how the current one works and don't like readjusting to the new one.