The current state of western society seems to be built on disposability. Something broken? Replace it. Here is an example from my own life: several years ago, the rope of my showerhead was breaking, and water would leak everywhere. Our solution was to replace the showerhead, rope and all. It didn’t occur to us until much later, that we could simply found a replacement rope. Repairing a part seems like such a foreign concept right now.
I think this mentality is easily extended into the technological world. Technology as we know it creates far too much waste: old phones, old laptops, and various other old devices clutter our drawers and closets. For those who do not get emotionally attached to some specific device bought so many years before, for X amount of money (this is not me; I would be the first to admit irrational sentimentality), recycling is an option. But recycling can be a pain: even if we can find an appropriate place to bring our things, how do we even know if they are recycled properly?
As software evolves to bring us more computational power, the demands on our hardware increase, and suddenly, the computer you bought two years ago is somehow inadequate. Or perhaps some component is broken, and needs to be replaced. In an ideal world, it would be simple to replace a small electronic part. But if corporations make it difficult to do repairs ourselves (e.g., glue down the battery), we are at their mercy, and must rely on large-scale production methodology.
What will it take for us to repair our instinct to replace? Is it possible to combine our current standard of living with smaller-scale production? How much would this change the technology manufacturing industry, and is it sustainable from a business perspective?