Home » Tackling electronic waste: The profitable promise of the circular economy

Tackling electronic waste: The profitable promise of the circular economy

by Green Device Recycling CEO Quam Arewa

by Media Xpose

In today’s rapidly evolving technological landscape, electronic waste (eWaste) has become a pressing issue with significant environmental and economic consequences. The continuous influx of outdated and discarded electronic equipment poses a threat to our environment, while also highlighting the need for a more sustainable approach. Fortunately, the concept of a circular economy offers a simple and profitable solution to this growing problem.

A circular economy aims to leverage existing resources by reintegrating them into the supply chain, rather than disposing of them after a single use. By adopting this model, the IT industry can significantly benefit both the environment and its own economic interests. As resources become scarcer and environmental damage worsens, embracing a circular economy has become more critical than ever.

The potential economic advantages of employing a circular model in the electrical and electronics sector are enormous. According to projections, implementing a circular economic model in IT could reduce costs for consumers by 7% in 2030 and 14% by 2040. These savings can be attributed to the reduced need for extracting and manufacturing raw materials, as well as the utilisation of existing resources.

Technological advancements and innovative solutions are playing a vital role in enabling the existence of a circular economy in ways that were previously unattainable. With the development of these new tools, such as advanced supply chain management systems, optimised product design techniques, and sustainable materials, it is becoming increasingly feasible to implement circular strategies throughout the industry.

An essential element of an effective circular economy strategy in the IT industry is keeping products and parts in secondary markets after repair, refurbishing, or as raw materials for manufacturing. By extending the life cycle of products and maximising their reuse potential, companies can significantly reduce waste and conserve valuable resources.

Proper eWaste management not only helps mitigate global warming and environmental damage but also proves beneficial for the bottom line. Embracing a circular economy approach, ensures compliance from both environmental and security standpoints. This program offers a sustainable and profitable way to offset new infrastructure costs while keeping pace with digital transformations.

Companies like Green Device Recycling are at the forefront of asset recovery services, actively building processes to maximise the reuse potential of IT assets. In line with the circular economy principles, they prioritise reuse over recycling, evaluating IT equipment that cannot be repaired and resold for potential reuse of parts and components. Recycling the products becomes crucial for reclaiming raw materials and reintroducing them into the manufacturing of new products.

Data security is a paramount concern for IT professionals, especially when it comes to managing IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) programs. With 89% of IT professionals emphasising security as their top consideration, certified data destruction services become crucial.

Providers like Green Device Recycling offer standard-compliant data erasure, serial number scanning and reporting, and reconciliation of serial numbers against asset lists, ensuring the secure handling of electronic waste.

Understanding the scope of eWaste is vital in comprehending the urgency of implementing circular economy practices. eWaste refers to electronic equipment that is discarded and has a significant negative impact on our global environment. Shockingly, eWaste accounts for 70% of our overall toxic waste.

Annually, the world produces over 50 million metric tons of eWaste, which is more than the combined weight of all commercial airliners ever made. Astonishingly, only 20% of eWaste is formally recycled, exacerbating the environmental challenges we face.

Moreover, the economic value of eWaste should not be underestimated. The eWaste produced each year is worth approximately $60 billion. It is estimated that there is 100 times more gold in a ton of eWaste than in a ton of gold ore, highlighting the potential for recovering valuable materials through proper recycling and reuse practices.

The issue of electronic waste demands immediate attention, and the circular economy offers a simple and profitable solution. By embracing a circular economic model, the IT industry can significantly reduce costs, mitigate environmental damage, and maximise the reuse potential of valuable resources. With the development of technological solutions and the adoption of sustainable practices, the vision of a circular economy in the IT sector is within our reach. It is time for businesses, consumers, and policymakers to collaborate and make the circular economy a reality, ensuring a more sustainable and prosperous future for all.

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