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By Topic

Extending PC lifespan through secondary markets

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1 Author(s)
Williams, E.D. ; United Nations Univ., Tokyo, Japan

The environmental management of computers should include an emphasis on maximizing their utilization, i.e. extension of lifespan. One important avenue to prolong use is through sale or donation of used computers to secondary markets. Although existing data and analysis is decidedly lacking, is can be said that secondary markets in the US and Japan are significant and growing, with small and medium size firms, donation agencies, Internet resellers and brokers, and computer manufacturers playing various roles. Yet the sector overall faces a variety of obstacles "noneconomic" in nature that need to be addressed. One is the issue of the transfer of end-user licenses from original to secondary purchaser. This is often not done for a number of not-very-good reasons, the result of which is a reduction of value and utility of used systems. The problem can perhaps be fixed through relatively simple changes to the way in which the licenses are packaged. Manufacturers could be encouraged to make these by including software licensing among the criteria for a computer eco-label. Many consumers are not aware that the secondary market can accept their unwanted computers and also provide an inexpensive source of computing capacity for the bulk of desired functions. Takeback systems being legislated in various regions around the world can certainly help to raise awareness and also provide incentive for consumers to resell computers via visible recycling fees. Also, the national initiatives to deal with end-of-life electronics could also assist in analyzing the secondary market in order to better understand its scale, structure, and appropriate means of stimulation.

Published in:

Electronics and the Environment, 2003. IEEE International Symposium on

Date of Conference:

19-22 May 2003