Preventing E-Waste with Circular Economy Principles
Wisetek is a pioneer of the circular economy for ITAD, reducing e-waste and improving landfill diversion through environmental commitments.
E-waste is a global problem. It’s a problem that’s growing at an alarming rate, and by 2030 it’s estimated to grow to a total of 74.7 million metric tons worldwide. E-waste consists of all sorts of electronic waste such as computers, phones, laptops, and even modern appliances as they’re increasingly using more and more electronic components.
Whether the electronic device no longer works or if it’s tossed out before the end of its useable lifespan, all of the e-waste being generated poses unique challenges to the environment. Organizations such as Wisetek have adopted a circular economy model to maximize device reuse while minimizing e-waste.
What is a Circular Economy?
In short, a circular economy is an alternative to the traditional linear economy of “take, make, waste” which instead opts to maximize the long-term use of products and materials and as a consequence minimizes waste. Achieving a true, working circular economy model within an organization comes with many challenges, not least of which is rethinking older attitudes that have led to mass consumerism and the growing e-waste problem worldwide.
In a circular economy model, products are either recycled or reused. Electronics can often be refurbished and reused, since many are discarded well before their actual end of life. The circular economy for electronics is therefore much more sustainable since it diverts e-waste from landfills and instead focuses on refurbishment, reuse and recycling as a last resort.
E-Waste: A Global Problem
The Environmental Protection Agency estimated that the average American household used around 28 electronic products back in 2013, and it’s fairly safe to assume that this number has only grown in the past decade as most of us simply have more electronics in everyday use like smart watches, tablets, and all other sorts of gadgets that simply did not exist (or were not as commonplace) back then.
Electronics stewardship stresses the need for e-waste reduction by methods such as refurbishment, reuse and recycling, and this will need to occur in order to stem the rapid growth of e-waste in the United States and worldwide anticipated in the future.
Not only is e-waste increasingly being banned from landfills in many jurisdictions, but many countries and states in the US have implemented data disposal laws as well. In order to achieve a Circular Economy model, organizations and private individuals will need to make efforts to reduce e-waste altogether. This is why Wisetek is committed to a Zero Landfill Policy.
Why E-Waste Reduction is Critical
There is no escaping the fact that the modern world is increasingly digital and consequently it is either impractical or inefficient for businesses to abandon their use of technology. If businesses cannot feasibly reduce their need for IT devices, then there must at least be efforts to reduce needless e-waste.
Modern electronics are made of all sorts of rare metals and components such as gold, aluminum, iron, platinum, lithium, palladium and copper. While possible to recycle, most modern electronics that are improperly dumped in landfills, for example, create an environmental hazard as these substances can leach into ground soil and pollute the air and water.
For these reasons, e-waste reduction is essential for the environment, as well as for our own health and wellbeing.
E-Waste Recycling Salvages Rare Materials
Modern electronics are made of many rare materials as mentioned above, often in trace amounts such as in the manufacture of CPUs. Although these metals can be hazardous if left irresponsibly in a landfill, for example, they can and should be salvaged and recycled.
In a circular economy model, these types of materials are neither left to waste nor to subsequently pollute the environment, but instead are salvaged and recycled.
Carbon Emission Reduction through the Circular Economy Model
Extraction of raw ores and minerals is extremely resource-intensive and has many impacts on the environment. Quarries can be humane – although highly impactful on the environment – but raw resource extraction can also be inhumane, with children mining for cobalt or other hazardous materials with their bare hands in Africa, for example.
On the other hand, recycling of many of these types of materials is far more efficient and uses around 95% less energy than raw resource extraction. Moreover, the material characteristics of metals such as aluminum are unchanged. Recycled aluminum is just as good as “new” aluminum, and it’s often found on IT assets in the form of casing, for example.
Solving the e-waste crisis will ultimately require a combined effort of not only major global businesses, but also private individuals, business leaders, policymakers, and a range of other groups and individuals around the world. For businesses, however, the responsibility to become more sustainable is perhaps higher simply due to the quantity of IT equipment they use and the subsequent amount of e-waste they tend to generate.
Just because old IT assets may be inoperable or approaching their EoL doesn’t mean they must be dumped in a landfill (and increasingly, they cannot legally be disposed of in a landfill). Instead, organizations are turning to ITAD company like Wisetek to recycle IT assets or to refurbish and remarket them for reuse.
E-Waste Recycling and Data Security
It’s all well and good to consider the environmental impact of e-waste and to encourage businesses to reuse or recycle EoL IT assets, but of course, the issue of data security can and should remain a priority.
It is possible to have your proverbial cake and eat it too, provided that your IT assets are thoroughly wiped or otherwise have all sensitive data destroyed before being recycled or refurbished. Doing so reliably requires the professional and thorough services provided by an IT Asset Disposition company such as Wisetek.
Why It’s Essential to Choose a Trustworthy E-Waste Disposal Company
E-waste disposal should always emphasize both responsible disposal and data security, without compromising on either. From a legal perspective, data disposal laws increasingly being passed in various states in the United States and in jurisdictions around the world make it such that companies have a responsibility to protect data during the lifetime of the asset as well as beyond, meaning that all data must be thoroughly and securely destroyed before disposal.
In order to handle this important task, many organizations are turning to trustworthy ITAD companies such as Wisetek for secure Data Destruction Services.
Comprehensive ITAD Services
A certified e-waste and data destruction company should always meet high criteria such as trust, reliability and professionality. Moreover, an ITAD company should also provide many essential ITAD Services which complement secure data destruction, as these add value within the organization.
Refurbished IT Equipment is in Big Demand
To many individuals and businesses, refurbished electronics are an attractive alternative to buying brand new. Refurbished laptops, PCs, phones, tablets and other accessories not only help cut down costs, but they’re also far more sustainable than buying new as well. Furthermore, refurbished electronics helps to eliminate e-waste and reduces the need for recycling since the product is being reused.
All refurbished IT assets must be thoroughly inspected, repaired and tested, which is why individuals and businesses should only purchase refurbished electronics from reputable refurbishers such as Wisetek Market.
Benefits of Refurbished Electronics
Refurbished electronics are a true win-win-win. Businesses that discard EoL IT assets stand to benefit financially from refurbishment when working with a professional ITAD provider such as Wisetek, individual customers benefit from great discounts on ‘as new’ electronics for personal or business use, and the environment wins by seeing complete diversion of an electronic device from the landfill.
Products sold on Wisetek Market have been thoroughly inspected and have had all sensitive data securely destroyed using Wisetek’s professional data destruction techniques, so clients can rest assured that no sensitive data will fall into the wrong hands. Customers also benefit for the same reason: no device will contain unwanted data, so they’re essentially buying an ‘as new’ product at a fraction of the price.
Sustainable E-Waste Strategies
The prevention of e-waste should be a priority for all consumers. A working circular economy model is one effective strategy that can be implemented within organizations, including manufacturers (Dell is noteworthy in this regard) as well as within companies that collect and manage EoL IT assets.
Wisetek’s circular economy ensures that the environment benefits from a reduction of needless e-waste, while our Sustainable Earth initiative and other company commitments ensure that our processes always emphasize the importance of environmental stewardship.
Sustainable ITAD Services from Wisetek
It will take a combined effort worldwide to reduce e-waste, but every step counts. Wisetek is a pioneer of the circular economy within the ITAD industry, and all of our secure data destruction services ensure full compliance and data security while also reducing e-waste through refurbishment, remarketing and recycling rather than landfill disposal.
Wisetek is your ideal global partner for sustainable ITAD solutions. Contact us today.
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