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OSPIRG offers holiday guide to save money, buy refurbished tech


PORTLAND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- With families maybe looking for extra savings this holiday season, OSPIRG is releasing “Fixed for the Holidays,” a guide to buying refurbished electronic gifts with confidence.

Part of our Right to Repair campaign, this guide helps consumers identify quality items, learn where to get them, and ensure they are getting the best deals. 

“New electronics are resource-intensive to make and expensive to buy. You can get great discounts on electronics, which is especially important during a tight economy,” said Spencer Young, Campaign Associate with OSPIRG. “This guide will help consumers make educated decisions about how to find a durable, like-new device that will help them stay connected.”

Not only is the pandemic stretching holiday budgets, but also it’s led to manufacturing delays that can make purchasing new electronics a difficult endeavor. Luckily, the market for used and refurbished electronics can help consumers buy like-new products for prices lower than Black Friday deals.

“As soon as someone opens the packaging for a new device, it’s considered used,” said Josh Eversole of BrainWave Computers, a computer repair business based in Beaverton. “We use a set of standards to ensure that the used and refurbished products we sell function just as well as their brand new counterparts, but cost a lot less.”

Not only are these used products good for the pocketbook, they are also better for the planet. The rapid pace at which we make, use and toss electronics puts a lot of pressure on the environment, but buying used and using products for longer can make a positive impact.

It’s all part of OSPIRG’s Right to Repair program, which strives to keep products in use, push manufacturers to lower barriers to repair and give consumers and third parties access to the materials necessary to fix our electronics. 

"The market for refurbished products is growing -- and it's clear that there’s strong consumer demand for quality items that last and that are more affordable,” said David Malka, Chief Sales Officer for goTRG, whose outlet is featured in the guide.

“A recent study that we conducted showed that 68% of respondents have already purchased a refurbished product, and that 52% of millennials would favor a refurbished product over a brand new product for the affordability and the positive impact to the environment. This data suggests that the Right to Repair movement is continuing to gain momentum and support from all sides, and is growing in relevance for consumers and for companies like ours."

 Most of the environmental damage from our electronics comes from the manufacturing process. Our research found that if Americans each used smartphones for one year longer, we would reduce manufacturing material demand by 42.5 million pounds per day — which would be like cutting a jumbo-jet’s weight in raw material use every 17 minutes.

“Shopping refurbished is the greener option that saves you green,” said Young. “Much of the damage done to the environment is a result of the manufacturing process, so this guide serves the dual purpose of helping consumers and their communities.”

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