Over the past few years, recycling and e-waste management have become part of the corporate asset management strategy of businesses in the UK and beyond. This is due both to new regulations and recycling targets and to a greater understanding of how different types of waste affect the environment.
In this article we want to focus on electronic waste recycling and on the future implications it could have for companies that use IT equipment.
Key Facts About E-Waste
Numbers can speak louder than words when it comes to depicting the magnitude of e-waste. A recent BBC article published some shocking figures about the amount of e-waste produced and discarded at global level.
- The total amount of e-waste discarded in 2021 alone had a total weight of 57 million tonnes, which exceeds the weight of the Great Wall of China.
- Many of the electronic products discarded as waste still have value. In 2019, the total value of e-waste amounted to £46 billion.
- E-waste stockpiling is also a problem, since consumers are typically reluctant to recycle items like mobile phones, computers, and TVs. In the UK, there are approximately 40 million electronic devices stockpiled instead of being recycled.
- In 2021, the UK was the second largest producer of e-waste in Europe.
What Are The Effects?
Growing amounts of e-waste aren’t just an environmental problem. Smartphones account for 10% of global e-waste, and these devices contain metals and rare earth elements that are becoming increasingly scarce.
Six components used widely in smart phones, tablets, and computers are becoming scarce due to non-recycled e-waste and could run out within a century.
1- Indium, a metal necessary for touchscreens to function.
2- Tantalum, used in smartphone capacitors and to improve audio quality.
3- Gallium, which improves passive cooling in electronic devices.
4- Yttrium, which is used to display colour in smartphone screens.
5- Precious metals like gold, silver, platinum and palladium, which are present in the average iPhone.
6- Tellurium, valued for its anti-corrosion properties and used in combination with other metals to make electronic devices more resistant.
How Businesses Can Help
Recycling e-waste can help recover some of these valuable components and help reduce carbon emissions. All businesses have a role to play in this as part of their IT asset management cycle.
For example, you could take inventory of any unused or stockpiled IT equipment or electronic devices you have in your company – many businesses keep a large number of obsolete IT assets in old cupboards and storerooms “in case they are needed”, and some employees still have old or faulty work laptops and phones at home, uncollected following asset upgrades. Many of these old assets remain in storage indefinitely, until they are eventually landfilled. If the devices cannot be repurposed and are unlikely to be used again, the smartest move is to find a reliable IT and e-waste recycling partner, freeing up space and potentially reaping a lucrative rebate from valuable recycled materials.
Absolute IT Asset Disposal has nearly 20 years’ experience operating as an IT asset recycling specialist with a zero-landfill policy. Unlike many so-called free e-waste recycling services, we take data security and GDPR compliance seriously, because your peace of mind comes first.
Our premium e-waste recycling services can help ensure that all recyclable components are processed responsibly so they can be reused in the future. Please get in touch today to discuss your requirements or request a quote
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