Help prevent e-waste on Circular Electronics Day
Sunday, 24 January is Circular Electronics Day — a global initiative that aims to encourage organisations and consumers to take a more responsible approach to the electronic goods they use, extending product life and preventing toxic e-waste. This year, the focus is on inspiring people to manage their electronics in a circular way by highlighting best practice cases.
In the linear economy, we take virgin natural resources to manufacture products, which often have a short lifespan before they are discarded. Valuable natural resources are depleted and toxic e-waste is accumulating at the record rate of 50 million tonnes every year — equal to the weight of nearly 4500 Eiffel towers or over eight Pyramids of Giza. Furthermore, e-waste is often handled in unsafe ways, leading to human health problems and environmental degradation.
In a circular economy, resources are handled in a more responsible way. For electronics, this means reducing virgin resource extraction, extending use-life of products and minimising waste and pollution. But while large corporate and public sector IT buyers are used to including sustainability factors when buying computers and other devices, not all consumers are aware of what actions they can take. The organisations behind Circular Electronics Day want everyone to know that smart choices on what to buy, and how to manage products throughout their life, can make a big difference for the environment, human health and your hip pocket.
“Whether you’re buying for 10,000 employees or just for yourself, our hands-on tips and best practices are here to help show that it’s actually easy to do the right thing and get more circular with your computers and other digital devices!” said Clare Hobby from TCO Development, one of the founding organisations of Circular Electronics Day.
On the Circular Electronics Day website, these best practices have been made available together with an informational quiz, designed to help people in taking the first step. Here are the top five ways to manage your IT products in a circular way:
- Extend the life of your IT products. This is the single most important thing you can do to reduce the environmental footprint of your IT use. Upgrade and repair your products so they last longer. Used products are in high demand, so make use of the second-hand market and buy and sell your products there.
- If you need to buy a new product, choose products that carry a sustainability certification that includes robust criteria and requires third-party verification.
- Choose a durable product that can last longer. Avoid buying unrepairable electronics that you may risk having to throw away after a short usage time.
- Climate compensate the e-waste footprint of your new product, either by recycling a product with a similar footprint or by purchasing the offsetting as a service.
- Don’t throw it out! Electronics contain valuable resources that can be reused. If it’s not possible to reuse or sell your old products, take them to an electronics recycler or refurbisher where they will be handled responsibly.
“This year, we want Circular Electronics Day to highlight real-life examples of how organisations and consumers alike contribute to building a circular economy by managing their IT products,” Hobby said. “By using the social media hashtag #CircularElectronicsDay, you can join the conversation.
“Everyone can do something. Engage your organisation in a positive way by asking for more sustainable electronic products or start with your own electronics use. Each step toward more circular management of IT products is a win for the planet.”
Take the quiz to learn more about circular electronics, watch the webinar or read blog posts from practising organisations on the Circular Electronics Day website.
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