Why Recycling is no Longer Enough for the Tech Industry

With over 53 million tons of e-waste being produced every single year and growing, the effect of technology on our planet is becoming ever-more apparent. E-waste is the single, fastest growing waste stream in the year and it is predicted that globally we will be producing 120 million tons of this waste every year by 2050.   

We must work to reduce the impact of e-waste on our planet, however, the recycling processes that are currently in place are not developed enough to tackle the problems arising around e-waste and the shortage of critical raw materials.   

The Shortfall of Recycling  

Recycling has taken the world by storm, with many industries turning towards recyclable materials, packaging and resources to help improve the sustainability of their businesses. Recycling is a fantastic process to help reduce the extent of waste that the world produces and make use of the resources that we already have, in place of mining and using new natural materials.   

For the technology industry, recycling is a double-edged sword. Recycling does help to reduce the ever-building mass of e-waste that is collecting around the world; with 53 million tons of e-waste being produced yearly, recycling helps to prevent potentially poisonous materials from ending up in landfill or in our world's ecosystems.   

However, recycling is not currently capable of fully recovering all of the critical materials from within a device for reuse meaning that, during the recycling process, critical raw materials are still being wasted. 

The best recycling equipment currently available is capable of recovering 90% of the critical raw materials for reuse. Whilst this percentage is high, there are many options available that ensure that all materials in technology are reused, options that are more accessible than this very expensive equipment. With this in mind, recycling should be the last resort for your used technology.   

We'll outline the most sustainable and eco-friendly options to help you dispose of your used or excess technology in the best possible way!

Update Your Technology  

Updating your technology with component level upgrades is a great way to extend the lifespan of your IT equipment in a sustainable way. Device lifespan can double with proper care and the correct component upgrades to help you save money and time on buying new equipment to replace what you currently have.   

Most IT equipment can be upgraded or refreshed to boost performance, memory and efficiency, as well as to extend the lifecycle of the device. With servers in particular, components can easily be installed, replaced or upgraded to create a more powerful device, often resulting in technology that outperforms your device when it was new! All components can be upgraded or replaced, including the CPU and RAM, to help create a high-performance device.   

Laptops and PCs can be refreshed using a computer refresh service. This service is essentially a component upgrade process, but can also include a data erasure service to help boost performance further. Refreshing your laptop or PC can extend the lifespan of your device by up to 4 years, saving you time and money, as well as preventing a useful device from ending up in landfill.   

By updating or upgrading your technology you are ensuring that valuable devices that have years left on the lifespan, as well as consisting of core raw materials, aren't ending up in landfill. By extending your device lifespan you are preventing 100% of the critical raw materials in your technology from going to waste, making technology upgrades a more sustainable choice for your IT equipment.  

Donate Your Technology  

If your technology has come to the end of its life with you, that's not to say that with the proper care, that IT equipment couldn't be suitable for someone else! Donating equipment is a great way to dispose of your IT and help others in the process, without even mentioning the environmental impact of reducing e-waste and aiding the establishment of a circular IT economy.   

Donating IT equipment, when done correctly, provides those in need with high-performance devices to aid with education, employment, health and wellbeing, and much more! However, simply dropping off your equipment at a local school or shelter means that charities or organizations are often left with equipment that they cannot use.   

Digital Access For All (DAFA) is an organization that provides useable IT equipment to those in need. DAFA works to data sanitize and update the technology they receive so that it is functional for those that need it most. By donating your used IT equipment to DAFA you are ensuring that your device not only ends up with somebody whose life it could change, but also that that device does not add to the growing e-waste problem.   

Sell Your Technology   

Selling your technology is a great way to sustainably dispose of your IT equipment as it helps to extend the lifespan of your used devices. There are several options for selling your IT equipment; private sale is always an option, however selling to an IT refurbishment firm ensures that your technology is reused as an entire device, or as components to upgrade other technologies.   

Refurbished equipment lessens the demand for critical raw materials by making use of resources that are already in circulation and reducing the CO2 emissions generated by the manufacturing process. Find out more about Techbuyer's sell to us service here.   

Recycle Your Equipment  

Recycling should be a last resort for your equipment, but that doesn't mean that it is without virtue. Recycling does help to reduce the impact of e-waste on the environment, it does prevent some of the raw materials used in technology from ending up in landfill, and it does extend the lifespan of IT equipment.   

Whilst there are more efficient, beneficial and sustainable options for your IT equipment, recycling is better than simply chucking away a device. If other methods are unavailable for you, you should always look to recycle before throwing it in the garbage where technology is concerned.   

Refurbished IT Equipment: the more Sustainable Choice  

For an even greater impact on the environment, purchasing refurbished equipment over new technology reduces the impact of the IT industry on critical raw materials and helps to create a circular IT economy! Refurbished equipment performs just as well as new with the correct upgrades and is often the cheaper option; this means that not only do you help the environment, but you also save yourself money without compromising on performance.   

Find out more about what refurbished can do for you here.