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iFixit’s Relaunch: A Wikipedia for Gadget Repair

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Gadget makers can tout their superior recycling programs all they want, but let’s be honest–replacing a dead iPod, cell phone, or laptop every couple years just isn’t sustainable. So instead of ditching dead electronics or paying hundreds of dollars for repair, why not take the DIY approach? IFixit, a Web site originally devoted to selling iPod and Mac repair parts, relaunched itself this week to do just that as one giant repair manual wiki.

IFixit explains the reasoning behind the switch:

Repair is stuck in the 20th century. Service manuals are almost never available online, and the few troubleshooting forums that exist are rife with spam and ad-baiting. Reliable parts suppliers that understand e-commerce are few and far between. Making repair accessible to everyone is the best shot we’ve got at reducing e-waste and starting to make our high-tech lives sustainable. We can’t keep throwing away cell phones every 18 months! We need to get every last bit of functionality from the things we own before we toss them aside.

We couldn’t agree more. E-waste disposal is a nasty and oftentimes ineffective process–burning old electronics in developing countries leads to toxins in the air and water. But according to iFixit, we could halve the amount of e-waste created by doubling the lifespan of the average piece of electronics. Manufacturers are unlikely to help, which means that sites like iFixit are our best hope for cutting down on gadget waste.

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