The tech industry holds the trump card when it comes to innovation surrounding recycling —considering they are, in fact, the innovators. As the world becomes more environmentally conscious and the EU sets targets to make all plastic packaging recyclable by 2030, businesses across the globe are looking for innovative ways to reduce their own waste through the production process and have a more circular economic approach.
As the tech industry strives to become a role model for recycling, we discuss the approaches some tech companies have taken and the benefits of taking recycling seriously.
So, what’s new?
The UK tech sector, in 2019, outpaced both that of the US and China in terms of growth. According to TechNation, it’s growing at a rate 2.6 times that of the overall economy. With this mind, the businesses within the sector have a role to play when it comes to limiting the carbon footprint. A report by the government noted that the digital sector alone contributes more than £400 million a day to the UK economy.
But, worryingly, as this industry grows larger and larger, the requirement for the latest technology grows. From the latest mobiles essential for keeping colleagues connected to the most up-to-date monitors used to facilitate day-to-day work, wherever you look in a tech industry business you’ll be able to spot a plethora of new technologies.
Lisa Jackson, vice president of Environment, Policy, and Social Initiatives at Apple notes how the biggest improvement the super brand has made to their famous smartphone since its launch in 2007 is not that of camera quality or speed. No, it’s been material reuse and the introduction of closed-loop manufacturing to their processes.
Closed-loop manufacturing is a process which re-uses materials as opposed to disposing of them, conserving resources. It is expected that by 2050, a circular economy will be part and parcel of consumer electronic production.
For example, Dell is making some drastic changes to its supply chain in order to have a more ‘circular’ approach. In response to the rising e-waste epidemic, Dell has used its circular economy initiatives and expanded its closed-loop recycled plastic supply chain. In addition to this, some of Dell’s products include reclaimed carbon fibre sourced materials- demonstrating the importance of plastic waste recycling for the environment.
What are the benefits?
As the tech industry sets an example for all the latest ways to help out the environment, you’re probably asking, what happens to the old ones? As a business, you have a responsibility towards the environment and this centres around correct and dutiful waste disposal management. There are a plethora of benefits of recycling for businesses in the tech industry, and here we label just a few.
No matter what the electronic device is, there will be some part of it that can be recycled. While most of us are aware of recyclable metals such as bronze and gold, certain heavy metals are not only unrecyclable but also incredibly damaging and harmful if they end up at landfill — for this reason you must call upon the help of a trusted waste management expert who can guide you on howto dispose of your waste.
You’ll be surprised to discover that only around two per cent of a computer cannot be recycled—a figure that manufacturers are consistently trying to lower. Monitors, keyboards, circuit boards, and printer cartridges are just some of the materials that can be recycled, helping contribute to the circular economy idea.
Apple, in 2018, launched a robot that has the ability to break down 200 iPhones in under an hour, while Dell has developed “pollution ink” which uses diesel fumes from generators to make ink for packaging.
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Attract employees and customers
In 2020 caring for the environment isn’t a niche market—it’s mainstream. Particularly for businesses just beginning to establish themselves, such as that of a tech start-up, it’s important to offer customers something they can relate to—something more than just the product or service they are purchasing.
A survey by Forbes discovered that 88 per cent of consumers want you, as the brand, to help them make a difference when it comes to the environment. Likewise, a survey by Hotwire found that 47 per cent of internet users ditched a brand that didn’t align with their personal values.
Similarly, employees want to work for businesses that not only ‘do their bit’ but go above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to the environment. Not only will recycling and disposing of your waste correctly allow your business access to a larger pool of talent, but it will also encourage your employees to speak of your brand with pride.
Space to thrive
If there is one thing the office spaces of established tech companies have in common it’s minimalism — they all tend to be very laissez-faire, relaxing places that offer room for the mind to get its creative juices flowing.
What disrupts this ambience, we hear you ask? Old technology being stowed away under desks or in cupboards as the new alternatives arrive. Improve your work environment by recycling these products, freeing up space for the things you really need to store away.
If you are a budding business in the tech industry and looking for a way to boost your environmental credentials and attract a new customer base then call upon the help of a waste recycling expert today!
Written by Tony Munro, MD at Reconomy