Green Alliance E-waste Solution

E-waste is a global problem that threatens the health of our environment, our wildlife and our global communities. With over 57 million tonnes of e-waste ending up in landfill and key materials for the production of technology running in short supply, we must change our IT habits for a sustainable future.

Our UK E-waste Manager, Paul Thorogood, recently attended a Green Alliance event to discuss how we can tackle the global e-waste problem effectively. The event was attended by a range of different companies from different sectors all working to reduce the amount of e-waste heading to landfill in innovative and creative ways.

From charities and small businesses to large tech industry organisations, including a representative from Curry’s, the event was well attended and important discussions took place.  
Paul shared his thoughts on the event, stating that,

“The biggest takeaway that I got from the event was that [Techbuyer] can be a part of the solution; we have lots of avenues to reduce e-waste with our ITAD operation and the main Techbuyer processing building, as well as facilities around the world. If we can ethically recycle alongside our refurbishment processes, we can be part of a sustainable solution because we are offering every avenue to help.”

Education and Community-Led Participation

 One of the biggest learnings from the event was that education is needed on a large scale to teach people about responsible e-waste disposal.

As Paul shared, “The education part, explaining to people the problem of e-waste and giving them a full understanding of disposal is where companies are seeing success.”

For example, Curry’s shared the success that they have had with offering a return-to-seller scheme. Curry’s have encouraged their customers to return their devices to the organisation once they wish to dispose of the technology. This allows the company to ethically recycle, refurbish or repair the device rather than the hardware they sell ending up in landfill.

Curry’s have experienced such success with this that they are now accepting devices sold by other companies into the scheme.  

Similarly, community-led projects have been doing well. Other companies shared the success that they had had offering a street vs street tech recycling challenge, incentivising responsible e-waste disposal, and collecting used technology from households. The number of electronics and devices within the average UK household are worth over £600 and if added up all the cables stored in UK homes, they would wrap around the world over 5 times! This technology must now be entered into the circular economy. 

For Paul, education will play a large role in developing a circular economy and a sustainable e-waste strategy: “The big thing is education and communicating with people, getting it out to the public about how important responsible e-waste disposal is and how easy it could be if everybody participated.”

Collaboration is Key  

Another key takeaway for Paul was the need for collaboration and communication between solution providers.  

He highlights that, “If you’re an expert in your field, such as refurbished tech, that’s brilliant but if you’re talking to another expert in their field, you can collaborate and enact change rather than thinking ‘we can do the best we can,’ to help make this a global solution.” 

Every company will have a different take on a sustainable solution, and they will be able to solve different problems. For example, technology charities, such as Reusing IT, who provide low-income families and those in need with electronics, are experts in getting devices to those in need. 

Techbuyer partnered with IT Schools Africa to data sanitise the technology they send to schools; we collaborated and shared knowledge to provide an all-round better solution.  
This is only one example of how sharing expertise, facilities and processes can result in sustainable e-waste solutions. As Paul states, “Through collaboration and communication, you’re going to see a better change.” 

Advice for Responsible E-waste Disposal  

Paul is an expert in dealing with e-waste and making the most out of our technology. When asked what advice he would give to companies or individuals looking to solve the e-waste problem, he shared that, “If the right solution is not right in front of you right now, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Getting out and researching will help you find a solution.” 

For every need there will be an e-waste solution that meets your requirements and taking the time to look will help us reach a sustainable solution.  

As Paul states, “The first option, and the first answer isn’t always the best. Easy solutions, that weren’t the most helpful, are how we got ourselves into this mess. Let’s not just take the easy solution, let's look for what more can be done.” 

Techbuyer’s Sustainable IT Solutions 

At Techbuyer we work to reduce the impact of e-waste on our planet. By offering high-quality refurbished technology, responsible and secure IT disposal and IT lifespan expansion services, we help to reduce the quantity of e-waste ending up in landfill. Find out more about our services and how we can help you here:  

 Paul Thorogood, UK E-waste Manager 

Paul is our UK E-waste Manager and ensures that we comply to our zero-to-landfill policy. By developing innovative ways to deal with waste and recycling everything that cannot be reused, repaired or refurbished, Paul has improved the way in which we deal with waste within our business.