So, although we are trying to live a plastic free life at times it feels too hard. When it comes to technology I really think this is the case as, as a long term lifestyle, it feels like it is impossible to go completely plastic free. Although, it is only November and in theory we could go back to our “Normal” life come 1st January 2017 next year we have already started to talk through the things we are wanting to have back (a later blog post will explore this) but also the fact that most changes are ones we want to continue to make because we can. Now that’s not to say we won’t still slip up, as we do know, but we hope to continue past our year of trying to live a plastic-free life to make it a more permanent lifestyle; yet when it comes to technology we can’t see how.
As part of a Christmas-come bit of our budget, I am about to replace an 8 year laptop with a second hand Macbook (I will be getting it to use from Christmas). There are lots of reasons why I could say I need this – I have started in my role to need to project regularly and my old laptop just isn’t up to it easily but need and want are often things so close together it is often hard to distinguish between the two. Could my old laptop cope in church projection- yes if it could always be plugged in and given a good amount of warm-up time. So, being truthfully honest this “upgrade” is hedging closer to a want than a need by this definition.
Yet, technology does change so quickly that without updating you can easily end up on the back-foot. However, the downfall to it all is that all technology has plastic in it – no matter how limited that might be; it just does. So what does someone do? I know with phones there are options out there like the Fairphone (https://www.fairphone.com/en/) a potentially good investment for android users who at some point want to upgrade (and in theory never upgrade again), yet as an apple user (and I hear the moans already) my current plan is to hold out as long as possible with my relatively new apple phone and then when it really goes buy second hand.
My husband and I have lifestyles and jobs that do require some technology beyond a basic phone, for instance we both have laptops which we do various work/outside of work hobbies on. This kind of technology will always at some point need upgrading or at best fixing.
For now, buying second hand has been a decision for me as at least it isn’t brand new plastic, with Apple being the current choice as they tend to last longer (I am hoping this turns out to be true) and it links into our apple iphones. I know I have enough friends who will cry out in disappointment to our final large link up to the “Big A” and I hear that too – they aren’t a particularly ethical company in other ways and they are the dominant company which has another moral implication to it too. Sometimes it feels like life has so many compromises it is overwhelming.
So, I wondered what other non-plastic people were doing about technology? What those who don’t aim to be plastic-free but are trying to reduce their global impact do? Any thoughts helpful. It’s an area of trying to live plastic-free I find most trying. Technology is intrinsically linked to development (for better or worse) and I wonder how easy opting out of it is for anyone; particularly those who use technology for work. Thoughts, anyone?