eReuse: circular thinking and interactions around reuse of computing devices (EN | ES)

English | Spanish

by David Franquesa, Leandro Navarro, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya,

Reuse of electronic devices such as desktops, laptops or mobile phones is applied to devices that have already been manufactured and are no longer in use (disposal) and will be recycled unless they are not repaired, refurbished and/or redistributed to other users. The reuse process ends when after a few years the device or a component returns to the disposal state, which means its use value then, or potential if improvements were made, does not allow its reuse again. Thus ending in recycling, a process that transforms computational use value into raw material use value [1].

We say that a device or component is reusable if it has any use value for someone. We use the word “potential” because when a device is not currently in use (going to disposal) it will only be reused if a preparation for reuse process is applied and the same user or another user finally reuses it. We refer by “use value” to the capacity of a device to satisfy a need, in our case of computing (storing, computing, viewing data, etc.), and not to the “exchange value” of a device on the market. The value of exchange depends on factors such as the value of its resources used during its life cycle, the work added to make raw materials computing usable, or supply and demand, and other factors not currently considered, such as the social impact on the extraction of materials, labor aspects or the pollution generated. We say that the use value of a device is universal and does not depend on a specific geographical location. It does not depend on the value given by the current user that wants to dispose a given device, which is its subjective perception of value, the he may consider it too low while there may be someone else not too far away willing to recondition and use it.

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