The tech industry is one of the fastest moving in the world. With an almost continual stream of updates, new products and the latest must haves, there almost always seems to be a reason to upgrade and get your hands on the newest tech, whether you are a business or a consumer.
However this continuous tide of new products is producing a global crisis in e-waste. The World Economic Forum reports that globally around 50 million tonnes of e-waste are produced annually. That’s the equivalent tonnage in e-waste as all of the commercial aircraft ever produced. And the UK is in the top ten of e-waste producers, along with the USA, France and much of Scandinavia.
So how did we end up in this mess and what can we do about it?
What about repairs?
The repair industry for tech overall forms an incredibly small percentage of the annual turnover, this mainly being because tech is just so difficult, and often expensive, to repair. Apart from taking your cracked mobile phone screen to the little kiosk around the corner, when do you ever send broken electronics for repair? Or do you just give up and buy a new one?
There is currently a move towards considering introducing legislation meaning that some of the less complex electronics, including fridges, lighting and electronic displays, should be made more easy to repair with standard tools, but unsurprisingly this isn’t popular with manufacturers and so could be many years off – and it still doesn’t tackle the issue of many of our more sophisticated tech such as computers, servers, printers and telecoms systems.
Can we recycle more?
This is both a question for manufacturers and consumers. It is estimated that only around 20% of our electronic equipment is fully recycled, with the rest ending up in landfill or the incinerator.
So as consumers we certainly have a responsibility to ensure that our unwanted electronics are recycled, choosing specialist companies such as Buy IT Back to take on any business, corporate or organisational needs. However there is also a large part to be played by manufacturers. Electronics individually tend to use very small amounts of rare metals and minerals, but collectively this adds up to a huge drain on these dwindling finite resources. Up to 40% of the components for new electronics are still being sourced from newly mined resources, but it is estimated that the electronics industry could prevent 1 million tonnes of waste and save 14 million tonnes of CO2 emissions simply by using existing resources more effectively.
Make the right decisions
We have already mentioned the need to use specialist computer recycling companies such as Buy IT Back, many of whom even offer a buy back scheme for your unwanted electronic items, but it is also important to ensure that you are buying from reputable sources too. Challenge the company you are considering buying from to prove what percentage of their items are made up from recycled vs newly mined resources, and try to buy items that may have a longer shelf life than the usual year or two.
To find out more about our recycling credentials (and how we can even pay you for the pleasure of conscientiously recycling your unwanted electronics) contact Buy IT Back today.