Electronic or e-waste is currently the fastest growing waste stream globally, driven by consumer demand for the latest hi tech products.
The speed of technology development and innovation, along with changing work environments and practices, continues to fuel the desire and need to regularly update and refresh our devices. 1.4 Billion new mobile phones sold every year, with an average lifespan of 2.7 years. Over 160 Million new laptops per year, with an average lifespan of 2 years.
It is estimated that there are now more mobile phones in the world than people. In 2018 there were over 8.7 billion mobile connections with a global population of 7.6 billion. That's unbelievable isn't it?
All of this is great, but what happens to the out going tech? By 2040, e-waste is predicted to make up 14% of the global environmental footprint.
Numerous environmental agencies around the world estimate that only 15-20% of these devices are being recycled. So where are the other 80-85%?
Well, typically they are in what's known as 'the pile of denial'. That's the drawer at home with your old mobile phones in, the box of old tech in the loft or the garage, the cupboard at work full of old tech, the store room you go in when you're looking for a replacement mouse or keyboard at work. We all have or know of the pile of denial, but we never get round to sorting it out. It's not a priority in our busy lives, at home or at work, so it gets put off and forgotten about, but should we be paying more attention to exiting our old tech?
Quite simply yes we should. From both an environmental and financial perspective. The opportunity and commitment to drastically reduce landfill from e-waste is huge.It’s never been more important to look at the ways we dispose of our waste. Gone are the days of throwing any old product into a skip and sending it to landfill, that simply is not an option anymore. Reuse is the most environmentally sound option, and the potential is there for the vast majority of devices to be reused, yet 80% of devices end up discarded in that pile of denial.
Compare our attitude to mobile devices to our attitude to cars for example, when we buy a new car, we don't leave our old car in the garage and forget about it, we trade it in or sell it. We know it can be used again by someone else, we know its still got some value, value which we can use to help fund our new car. Unlike our mobile devices, our cars don't carry sensitive personal data, yet we take far more care of how we deal with moving on our old car, than we do of our old tech.
The principle is the same though, our old tech can be reused, it still has value. That residual value can benefit us as we upgrade to the latest shiny new tech.We can use that residual value to offset the cost of new devices, new IT, new equipment, yet it so often ends up in that pile of denial.
Do we put it off because we are unsure of how to recycle it properly, ethically and securely? Possibly, but we don't need to. Yes our devices carry huge amounts of sensitive data, both personal and business, but this can be securely data erased by a professional recycling company, refurbished and reused, without troubling landfill and all while putting some money in your pocket.
Isn't time to turn that pile of denial into a stash of cash?
If you have a recycling opportunity you would like to discuss, we'd love to hear from you, so please contact us at www.tradologyuk.co.uk