Going Green – Repairing, Reusing and Recycling Your Electronics

Lots of people are going green now a days, and that’s a beautiful thing. But many people still don’t know how to safely dispose of their old electronics. Throwing old electronics in the trash is disastrous for both the environment and our economy. Fear Not! Gadget Lab is here to teach you about the benefits of repairing, reusing and recycling your old electronics. With the right tools and education we can take the necessary steps to reduce the amount of e-waste that ends up in our landfills.

E-Waste. In 2014, 41.8 million metric tons of wasted electronic equipment, commonly referred to as e-waste, was generated worldwide. Of that, only 6.5 million metric tons were recycled. Globally, we are on track to exceed a whopping 93.5 million metric tons of generated e-waste in 2016.

E-waste consists of unwanted, non-working and obsolete electronics such as phones, tablets, computers, televisions, VCRs, stereos, copiers, and fax machines. Although many of these products can be refurbished, reused or recycled, there is still a staggering amount of e-waste ending up in our landfills. On top of clogging up the worlds already overflowing landfills, many of these electronics contain toxic heavy metals such as lead, mercury, cadmium and beryllium, as well as hazardous chemicals, such as brominated flame retardants. When disposed of irresponsibly, these toxins and hazardous substances are allowed to seep into the ground, contaminating water sources and creating a serious health threat for people and the environment alike. A complete list of these hazardous substances can be found here.

It is up to us, the consumers, to drastically reduce the amount of e-waste that we are disposing of improperly.

Environmentally Responsible. As a small business that deals with electronics on a daily basis, Gadget Lab feels it is our duty to keep unnecessary electronic waste out of the landfills through the acts of repairing, recycling and education. The following planet-friendly practices allow us to minimize our carbon footprint, thus positively impacting our community and our environment alike.

REPAIR – Repairing our phones, tablets, computers, and other devices helps to keep perfectly good electronics out of our landfills. At Gadget Lab, we strive to provide convenient and affordable solutions for all of your cell phone, smartphone, tablet and computer repair needs. We repair all makes and models including Apple iPhones, iPads and iPods, Samsung, LG, Motorola, Nokia, ZTE, HTC and many more. Broken Screen? Battery won’t hold a charge? Camera stopped working? We can help! With over 15 years of experience in the electronics repair industry, our technicians will get you back up and running in no time. Call today for a free estimate, or stop in at our location in Mechanicsburg, PA!

RECYCLE – In an attempt to reduce the amount of e-waste in our community that is not properly disposed of, Gadget Lab will accept and recycle your used electronics for you. Unwanted electronics can be dropped off at our location during our regular business hours. Get rid of old clutter and feel good knowing that you are doing something to make a difference.

At this time, due to their large size and the high concentration of phosphors and lead, Gadget Lab is unable to accept CRT televisions and CRT computer monitors. CRT televisions and CRT computer monitors up to 32” in size are, however, currently being accepted for recycling at Best Buy.

REUSE – At Gadget Lab, we highly recommend keeping an old phone as a back-up device. You never know when you are going to have a dreaded ‘whoops’ moment and drop your phone, breaking the screen and leaving your phone inoperable. A back up phone can be activated using your existing phone number while you consider your options. Keeping a back-up phone is also excellent for travel – Leave your expensive phone at home and use the back-up device for travel.

Did you know? Most old smartphones can still dial 911, even if you’re no longer paying for service. Keep a back-up phone on hand as an emergency phone. Keep it turned off in your car’s glove compartment or in an emergency kit at home.

DONATE – Donating your old phone to a non-profit organization is a great way to be earth-conscious while giving back to your community at the same time. From your web browser you can search for local non-profit organizations in your area that accept old cell phones and select a charity of your choice. Many organizations have local drop-off locations, and others will supply you with a shipping label so you can mail your old phone directly to them. Cell Phones for Soldiers is a reputable organization that accepts phones for charity. Click here to find a Cell Phones for Soldiers drop-off location near you.

Liquid Damage – Do’s and Do Not’s

Liquid Damage: Every phone owner’s worst nightmare. While there is no guarantee that anything will save your phone and/or your data, there are some steps that you can take to improve your odds.

After pulling your device out of the pool, the washing machine, your morning cup of coffee, or (Yikes!) the toilet, there are actions that you should take immediately to increase the possibility of saving your device.


First and Foremost…

DO NOT ATTEMPT TO TURN ON OR PLUG IN YOUR DEVICE! Many people feel the urge to see if their device is still working. This is the worst thing you can do. It is the electricity in the device that is likely to cause the most damage. Water acts as a conductor for electricity and connects metal parts of the phone that should be kept apart. Worst case scenario, the motherboard (the brain of the phone) will short out. This will render your device useless, and all your data could be lost forever.

Do: Leave the device powered off. If possible, remove the battery to ensure that the device is indeed powered off. Now is when patience will prove to be a virtue.


Next…

There is a theory that placing your device in rice will suck the moisture right out and voila! Good as new! While we appreciate rice for its amazing contribution to Sushi, WE DO NOT RECOMMEND THE “BAG OF RICE” TRICK. There are a number of reasons why. Not only do the tiny grains of rice threaten to get stuck in any small cavities present on the device (charging port, headphone jack, speakers, etc.), but the fine starchy powder can actually cause build up inside the device and can contribute to, not help prevent, corrosion. Finally, rice can take DAYS to absorb the moisture from the inner workings of your phone. That is WAY LONGER than it will take for the harmful corrosion to form.

We also recommend that you avoid the use of hair dryers, heat guns, and the like. While, in concept, a hair dryer might seem like a brilliant idea, it is more likely to do damage than good. There are a lot of delicate parts in your phone, and the heat supplied by a hairdryer, even on the lowest setting, can melt, warp or destroy some essential components inside your gadget. Also, lithium ion battery + heat… not a good idea AT ALL (cough, cough… Samsung Note 7).

Do: After wiping any visible moisture away, place your device in a sealed plastic bag with Silica Gel packs. You know, the little packets that come in beef jerky, shoes, small electronics, etc. that say “DO NOT EAT” all over them. Silica Gel packets are designed to eliminate moisture from products and they come in neat little sacks that don’t threaten to clog your charging port. The more you can find, the better.

silica gel cell phone


At this point…

You can leave your phone in the bag of Silica Gel for a few days and see what fate has in store for your device. There are, however, some additional actions you can take to attempt to save your device and/or the data stored on it.

If your device is still wet… There is now a “wet phone recovery technology” popping up as kiosks across the country. This service is currently available in our area from two competing companies: TekDry and Redux. Depending on your location, and how recently you got your phone wet, this may be the solution for you. These machines work by placing your device inside a vacuum chamber, reducing the boiling point of the water, and vaporizing the liquid out of the device in as little as 30-60 minutes. Though this is a new technology, TekDry boasts a 70% success rate at reviving a liquid damaged device. Prices vary, but if the process is unsuccessful, you pay only a ‘nominal diagnostic fee’.

If it has been more than a couple of hours since your phone got wet… Your best bet at this point is to take your device into your local repair shop. They can take steps to get your device dry, remove existing corrosion, or replace damaged parts. While most repair shops do not guarantee work done on devices that have suffered liquid damage, they may be your best bet.


A last resort…

So your phone is completely dead. You have tried everything, and now your data is gone forever. Or is it? There may be one more option available. If your missing data is extremely important, and money is no object, then data recovery may be your next step. Ask your local repair shop if they know of, or are partnered with, a reputable data recovery company. There are a few drawbacks to this process. Costs vary, sometimes soaring into the thousands for a successful recovery. And the process can take weeks or months to complete. As with every other process listed above, there is no guarantee of success, but if your data is priceless to you, then it may be the way to go.


Prevention…

Maybe you work on a fishing boat. Or perhaps you respond best to work emails while visiting the porcelain palace. We aren’t here to judge! No matter your lifestyle, you may want to consider a waterproof case for your phone. There are a number of reputable manufacturers, including Otter Box and LifeProof, that we recommend. A quality case can help you avoid damaging your phone and losing your data. After all, liquid damage is an area where being proactive can really pay off.

Smartphone Issues: Causes, Symptoms and Solutions

Smartphone repair is in our genes at Gadget Lab. We know you can’t get enough of your smartphone. It keeps you connected with friends and family, and, let’s not forget, it is how you keep up with all the latest cat videos on the internet. Unfortunately, the more we use our devices, the potential for problems increase. That’s where Gadget Lab comes in. Our technicians have been repairing phones for over thirteen years. We were around long before the beloved Motorola Razr hit the scene. As time goes by, the technology continues to advance, and Gadget Lab is advancing right along side of it.

Screen Replacement and Repair

The most common smartphone problem we see at Gadget Lab is a broken or malfunctioning screen. Over the years, phone screens have increased in size, simultaneously increasing their vulnerability. If you find yourself with one little crack or a completely shattered screen, our repair experts have you covered. Most screen repairs can be done while you wait, so there is no need to leave your phone behind.


Home Button

Gone are the days of the physical QWERTY Keyboard. Nowadays, most smartphones are equipped with a full-size touchscreen and just a couple physical buttons. Of the few buttons that remain, many have functions that are often overlooked until that button fails to work. Home buttons can begin to stick, or stop functioning entirely. When they do, it’s no fun trying to figure out how to navigate through your device without them. Our techs have replaced hundreds of home buttons, and they are ready to get yours working like new again.


Power Button

A majority of people don’t power their smartphone off as often as they should. This doesn’t mean the power button is completely useless. A smartphone’s power button often doubles up as a means to lock or unlock your device. On many devices, it also allows you to snap a screen shot. Sometimes you just can’t get to the charger in time and your phone dies. A broken power button can render a piece of technology lifeless. When dealing with a broken power button, let Gadget Lab help bring your device back to life.


Charging Port

A smartphone’s charging port takes a lot of wear and tear over the device’s lifespan. Every day, often multiple times a day, people cram their charger into their phone, scraping, bending or twisting it into position. This can wear out the charging port, making it unable to accept a charge. Another common charging port issue occurs when the tip of your charger snaps off inside your charging port. Attempting to remove any broken pieces that are stuck inside the port can lead to further damage. If you are experiencing any type of charging port issue, bring it in to Gadget Lab and let us take care of it for you.

Battery Replacement

Your smartphone once provided you with countless hours of glorious battery life, and now you’re lucky if you can make it to work without it dying. Does this sound familiar? Over time a battery starts to wear out and eventually it is no longer able to hold a charge. Just because your phone’s battery isn’t what it used to be, doesn’t mean it’s time to start saving up for a whole new device. Our technicians can replace your battery and get your device back to it’s full potential without skipping a beat.


Speakers and Microphones

Speakers and mics that crackle or cut in and out can ruin just about any phone call. There is nothing more frustrating than poor sound quality when you are using your smartphone. It can be detrimental to a professional or personal relationship alike if you can’t communicate clearly. Whether you are trying to relax to your favorite song, or you are making your periodical phone call to Mom, a busted speaker is unacceptable. Most speaker and mic repairs take less than an hour to complete. Come in and Gadget Lab will get your device back in tip-top shape in no time.

Whether you are experiencing one of these six common smartphone issues, or any other problem imaginable, Gadget Lab is here to help. If you are unsure what is going on with your device, don’t hesitate to bring it in to our location. Let our skilled technicians determine exactly what the problem is.

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