Exploring the e-waste issue
We’ve covered this in a previous blog, but let’s clarify what we mean by e-waste.
There’s no formal definition, but this typically refers to consumer and commercial electronics. Essentially, anything electronic with a plug or a battery. Once these items reach the end of their useful life and are no longer in use, they can be classified as e-waste.
While the rate of technological advancement witnessed in recent decades has delivered many benefits, the amount of electronics that we create, consume, and replace has seen the volume of e-waste grow at an alarming rate.
Less than 20% of this is properly collected and recycled. Of the 53.6 million metric tonnes (Mt) of electronic waste generated in 2019, only 17.4% was recycled, meaning 44.72 million Mt of e-waste was left to landfill. This e-waste contains several toxic substances such as mercury, brominated flame retardants (BRF), and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Overtime these substances escape, draining into soil or diffusing into the air to significantly harm the local environment.
Without intervention, the volume of e-waste could double in our lifetime. That’s over 100 million Mt of e-waste every year.
It’s not just the disposal of existing electronics at the centre of the e-waste issue. Everything disposed of is replaced, and the mining of precious metals and other materials needed for new hardware drains finite natural resources, destroying environments and communities in areas that don’t even benefit from the creation of these electronics themselves. People, wildlife, plant life, and ecosystems are all impacted, and this approach is simply not sustainable.
Ironically, the e-waste produced each year is literally an untapped goldmine for these precious minerals. 1 metric tonne of e-waste contains on average 100 times more gold than the same volume of gold ore. That means each year we throw away tonnes of precious metals in favour of mining new resources in smaller quantities.
What steps can you take?
To address the e-waste issue, a change of approach is needed. It’s a strategic shift in the way you procure, use, and dispose of your technology.
The driver behind e-waste production is the rate at which new technology is required, so changing the way you identify and purchase the technology you need is one of the most important steps you can take.
This means looking beyond net new technology to an authorised remanufactured first approach.
How Cistor can help
For over a decade we’ve been helping our customers change their approach to technology acquisition, delivering good-as-new authorised remanufactured technology as part of more sustainable approach to IT.
Our expertise lies in the network, the bedrock of a business’s IT estate. It accounts for a significant percentage of the technology used every day, and is also an area where real change can be realised, and significant savings achieved.
To date, we’ve saved over 600 tonnes of networking equipment from landfill, that’s enough to fill the Albert Hall, and we’re aiming for 1,000 tonnes by 2022. That’s 600 tonnes of authorised remanufactured networking technology supplied to businesses instead of disposing and buying new, with the value of those products, their components, and the precious metals and minerals they hold extended.
We also deliver a number of lifecycle management services that help businesses manage their existing infrastructure, identifying opportunities to extend the life of their deployed assets, and where authorised remanufactured networking technology can be used instead of new.
I’m not sure about remanufactured technology
Over the years we’ve heard many businesses voice concerns about the use of remanufactured technology, and these reservations stem from a misunderstanding of what these products are.
Using remanufactured technology doesn’t mean buying old, outdated, second-hand hardware that’s on its last legs. This is fully authorised remanufactured technology certified by the original manufacturer.
Almost every major technology vendor, including Cisco Meraki, HPE, Dell, and HP has a remanufacture programme. These vendors take back technology that is no longer needed and restore it to good-as-new condition, complete with full warranties, ready for use once again.
Crucially, a huge amount of this technology has often never been used. Excess stock and overprovisioned resources are pushed through this process even when they are still box fresh.
We’ve previously supplied authorised remanufactured networking solutions to the UK’s newest aircraft carrier, as well as a number of NHS trusts and hospitals. IT infrastructure doesn’t get more critical than that.
The best part? Authorised remanufactured technology is available at a significantly reduced price, with savings of up to 20% available on almost every product. It’s the same technology that you’d buy as new for a reduced cost, with the added bonus of reducing the volume of e-waste being created through technology refresh.
To learn more about the authorised remanufactured networking technology we supply, and how your business could embrace a more sustainable approach to IT, get in touch with a member of the team.