If you have been made fun of by your android clad amigos for your uber out of date cellular, pat yourself on the back.

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Credit: etharooni via Flickr

Old, refurbished or reconditioned electronics reduce waste by reusing as much of an old device as possible, if not the whole thing; or at least recycling the parts that still work, saving consumers from tons more plastic, metal, and sometimes worse toxins than we already have, and if you buy refurbished electronics, you may save a significant amount of money.

Everyone knows that cell phone designers have to come up with a new model at least once every few months, and that cell phones are not designed "to last". This is because electronic carriers make money by selling as many products as possible, and therefore, have to keep us buying them. If your phone lives for considerablly longer than, say, five months--maybe a year or so, the company it is from has not made its full potential profit from you. On the other hand, phones that are so fragile that a moderately strong wind can destroy them bring in loads more money, as you are likely to need a new one or two before your contract is up or it is time for an upgrade.

When a cell phone, or any electronic, for that matter, dies permanently, it is usually caused by one thing going wrong, which means that, unless your device has been shattered into smithereens, it is highly likely that part of or all except for that one part of it is still fully functional--and salvageable.

But normally, what becomes of these perfectly usable parts and redeemable devices is waste: abandoned electronic devices end up in landfills, and toxic waste piles to be sorted through by unsuspecting children in third world countries. They may be dropped in donation bins, some of the more common recipients of old electronics including the troops or battered women shelters, but the whole point of these programs being both time and cost efficiency while you indulge in a sparkling new iPhone, cell phones and other devices that "don't work" will likely end up exactly where they would have gone anyway, had you just thrown it out yourself.

But there is something you can do to reduce your techie footprint. If you think you'll be able to live without the latest communication innovation, buying refurbished products could have a considerable payoff for both the planet and your wallet. You can buy refurbished electronics from a whole host of techie-preneurs on the web, including vendors on Amazon and Overstock.

Because refurbished and reconditioned electronics have usually been adjusted by people other than the product's original manufacturer, you should make a checklist of things to be sure of before buying refurbished products.If there is more than one model of the product listed, make sure that the one you are getting has all of the features listed in the description.

Do background checks on sellers of refurbished electronics: some of the more trustable places on the web to buy refurbished electronics include Refurb Depot, Tech for Less, and Dell Outlet.

When buying refurbished products, you should understand the seller's return policy and be clear about the waruntee, of which it is wise to make sure you have a copy on paper. If there is not one, you may want to buy refurbished electronics elsewhere.

There are a handful of information sites on refurbished and reconditioned electronics on the web. Before buying refurbished products, you should use them to compare sellers, and brush up on the difference between refurbished and reconditioned electronics, and likely any other questions you have.