UNREPAIRABLES: As a general trend, we're still moving away from having a small number of items that we maintain for a long time, towards a great many things that we lack the skill to repair. To compound this, the things we own are increasing in manufacturing complexity made of many combined materials (see this AirPod teardown).
If we can't dismantle our stuff, this makes it both hard to recycle at the end of its life, and also hard to maintain and repair, even when such skills are available. So at the end of their life, working or not, they end up stockpiled in our homes. The thing is, the point at which there's a high-tech device stashed in a drawer is the worst time to start thinking about what to do with it longer term. If we want to keep our things in good order (and/or easily transform them when we're done), it's much easier to do this at the point of manufacture, rather than the point of expiry.
Products like the Fairphone, a smartphone made of many recycled materials and featuring replaceable components designed with long service and repair in mind, exemplify this upstream thinking. But while it targets those looking to tread more lightly, it's by no means ideal: there's still a substantial carbon cost to its manufacture and, although spare parts are available, it's still going to be very hard to recycle any broken bits without an energy investment. 📲