DCD Zero Downtime Podcast | The Circular Economy Must be Central to Creating a More Sustainable Future

The circular economy is an essential aspect of a sustainable future, however, establishing this practice isn’t getting the attention needed or deserved. The circular economy is overshadowed by concerns over carbon reduction, but, as Techbuyer’s sustainability lead and Chartered Environmentalist, Astrid Wynne states, “you can reduce your carbon footprint to zero, but at the same time make the materials run out in society, and that seems to be what's happening now.”  

Astrid discusses why this needs to change for a more sustainable future in a recent podcast with Data Centre Dynamics (DCD).  

In the interview, Astrid highlights the importance of repurposing materials to support the manufacturing of renewable energy technologies:  

“With our obsession with carbon at the moment, we're discounting the fact that to get us to net zero, we're going to have a lot of finite materials being used in our renewable energy production that are potentially going to run out within decades.” 

The technology sector is one such industry that can have a drastic impact on the circular economy. As Astrid highlights, there are currently more precious metals in our devices than there are in the ground. By making responsible choices with our electronic waste to retain and repurpose these materials, we can supply valuable metals, minerals and chemicals needed to manufacture renewable energy sources and support the transition to carbon neutrality.  

Not only can a circular IT economy aid the transition to renewable energy sources, but it also works to reduce the impact of e-waste globally and prevent valuable materials from becoming ever scarcer, causing greater hardship and issues. As Astrid states:  

“People think of materials being something that's outside of our day-to-day lives. But when you have a restricted supply of materials in society, it tends to have very real social results. It tends to lead to conflict, deprivation, and hunger.” 

However, even with better waste management and practices, recovering waste is meaningless without someone who can make use of the materials for a new purpose. With this in mind, a circular economy needs circular thinking in order to change, not only our disposal habits but also how we buy and maintain what we have.   

A circular economy, therefore, is essential to the development of a sustainable society for both people and planet.  

Key Points:  

  • Without a circular economy, we will begin to see suffering and conflict as a result of a lack of available materials.  
  • The circular economy goes hand in hand with the journey to carbon neutrality and should be a central focus of the sustainability programs of both individuals and businesses globally.  
  • With the sheer quantity of valuable resources in technology, the IT and data centre industries can play a vital role in the development of a circular economy.  

Data Centre Dynamics is an online publication that highlights industry news, updates and advice for the data centre sector. Read their full article on Astrid and the circular economy here or listen to the podcast to hear the full discussion 

The Circular IT Economy | Techbuyer’s Sustainable IT Solutions 

Techbuyer is a leading supplier of sustainable IT solutions for the responsible procurement, maintenance and disposal of technology. Our services are centred around extending the lifespan of IT and aiding the establishment of a circular IT economy globally. Find out more about our lifecycle services and what Techbuyer can do for you here.