Why is refurbished better than new?

Why is refurbished better than new?

When comparing new versus refurbished tech, refurbished takes the cake. Here’s why.

The big picture 

We talk a lot about why we think refurbished tech is better than brand-new, but we thought it was time to do a deep dive into exactly why. Ultimately, it comes down to price, quality, and our collective impact on the planet. Of course, there’s a little bit more to the story than that. So whether you’re looking to be convinced or just need a little help explaining to your friends and family, read on.  Why is refurbished better for the planet? 

The three Rs are as true as they were when Big Bird sang them on “Sesame Street”: reduce, reuse, and recycle. Refurbishing (the fourth R, if you will) allows us to do all three. By refurbishing already existing tech, we’re reusing resources already extracted from the planet, while recycling what we can’t reuse. By putting refurbished tech on the market in the same condition as brand new, we’re reducing our collective need to buy new. Of course, the refurbished tech was once new; and it did incur an initial impact on the environment. However, by refurbishing it to like-new condition and using the device over again, refurbished tech mitigates that initial impact and spreads it over the entire lifespan of the device, rather than just a year or two. 

Let’s take smartphones, for example. There are four main ways that tech manufacturing impacts the planet: Water waste, raw material extraction, carbon emissions, and the creation of e-waste. In every single category, refurbished tech has significantly less impact on the planet. This means less e-waste piling up and polluting the environment, less carbon emissions in our atmosphere heating our planet, more water retained in its local ecosystem, and more habitats kept intact rather than being destroyed by mining for raw materials. If you’d like to see more data, click here to read more about what refurbished tech means for the planet.

If you’re replacing your current smartphone with a new one every 2.5 years — the average length of time people hang on to their smartphone — that impact is massive. Replace that with a refurbished phone, even with the same timing, and it would take you many more years to make the same environmental impact on the planet as buying new.  Big Tech likes it when their customers only buy new, so they’re historically not invested in making device repair easy for the average person to accomplish. Think about replacing your iPhone battery — most people have to go back to Apple or Samsung or a third-party dealer to get it replaced, rather than do it themselves or go to an independent repair professional. That’s why the Right to Repair movement is so important — to make sure that we are able to use our devices as long as possible, rather than feel forced to buy something new every time a device becomes damaged. 

Another way Big Tech discourages repair is by “part pairing,” or creating an alert in their software that informs you when a non-Apple-certified part was used. Why would corporations implement something like this? To upcharge on their own “certified” replacement parts, and to make you, the customer, worried that something is wrong. It’s a stumbling block set up to keep people buying new, no matter what. 

Refurbished devices that work like new 

Obviously, the functionality of your device is key to you using it. In the past, reliable refurbished tech was hard to come by. That’s where we come in. Yep, you can get a refurbished device that is 100% fully functional and works perfectly. 

In fact, that’s our whole deal. Verified Refurbished by Back Market means that all the devices we list have passed a minimum 25-point inspection, carried out by industry professionals. Devices are evaluated on metrics that assess appearance, camera quality, battery health, wireless connectivity, and more. 

We back it all up with a 1-year warranty, a 30-day return policy, and 6 days a week of in-house customer service. All of the support you’d expect when buying new, for significantly less — because you’re paying for what the device is worth, minus the upcharge of “new.” 

Refurbished is worth it 

For the cost of a little patience, you’ll get the same device, the same excitement, and the same quality as buying new — without the additional environmental impact. The tech we buy is one of the few choices in our day-to-day lives that can have a positive effect on the environment, and the sustainability of refurbished tech is something new can never hope to match (no matter how many new charging ports are rearranged or megapixels added). 

Choose refurbished while getting the same benefits as new? Seems like a win-win to us.

Clare Austen-Smith

Written by Clare Austen-Smith,  Senior Brand Copywriter

Writing about tech, sustainability, and all things Back Market.

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