How Consumer Choices Drive Ethical Electronic Recycling

The increase in upgraded devices and innovative technologies means that consumerism is at an all-time high in the tech industry. In 2019 alone it was reported that approximately 54 million metric tons of e-waste had been produced worldwide with an annual production of around 50 million tons of additional e-waste every year since.

Suffice to say, consumerism and our desire to have the latest gadgets and technologies is feeding an existing issue and the issue is only continuing to grow.  

This blog seeks to take a different direction, exploring the role of consumers in ethical electronic recycling and the rise in responsible IT disposal. After all, if consumers are at the root of the issue, we too can help and become the solution.

What is the role of consumers in e-waste management?

There are a number of things that consumers can and should be doing to contribute towards safe and sustainable e-waste management. These include:

·        Reducing tech consumption

·        Taking steps to recycle rather than dispose of unwanted technology and devices

·        Supporting ethical tech production

From holding onto a device for a little longer to choosing to sell or recycle a device rather than discard of it after use, the role that consumers play in e-waste management is vital.

How can consumers reduce electronic waste?

We probably don’t need to tell you that e-waste is a problem which has a catastrophic impact on the environment. More than that, it creates and continues to feed an industry where new devices are constantly being made due to high demand, thereby further exhausting the resources required to produce new technology.

The first and most important step in reducing electronic waste is to explore recycling and reusing initiatives. This doesn’t have to mean donating devices, it could mean selling them on to a new owner via a marketplace or second hand site. Whatever you choose, taking steps to give your unwanted devices a new lease of life is one of the best and easiest steps you can take as a consumer to reduce electronic waste.

In addition to this, consumers especially corporate companies and large organisations can boost their sustainability goals by supporting and funding initiatives that support ethical tech production. This means sourcing tech through companies that balance their environmental impact, and that use components from recycled goods rather than draining brand new resources.

How to drive ethical IT disposal through consumer messaging

Consumers are more important than ever in shaping the success of corporations and businesses, based on how strongly they resonate with and believe in the brand values and vision.

As a business, it’s important to recognise what matters to your customers and then work those same messages into your own values and operations. This is because consumers play a vital role in how well received a specific brand is.

To connect this to ethical IT disposal and technology consumption, we have to look at CSR goals and environmental goals. These checkpoints are widely adopted across the business and corporate world, by companies that want to prove their commitment to social, environmental, charitable, and corporate goals. Companies that are committed to their CSR goals can use ethical IT disposal as a core part of their strategy, donating computers via a cause like Computer Aid’s which seeks to reverse and bridge the digital divide, and funnel devices away from landfill and into a cycle of reuse and refurbishment.

This kind of action bolsters your charitable and philanthropic work, shows consumers and customers that you are committed to ethical and sustainable IT disposal, and supports communities without access to online and technology resources. In addition, it underpins your commitment to the environment, by channelling your energy into electronic recycling rather than waste.

What to do next as a consumer or business

If you’re a consumer, consider this a sign to reevaluate your technology consumption and how you deal with devices and IT equipment that you no longer want or need.

If you’re a business, then now is the time to get in touch about IT recycling. A member of the Computer Aid team will work with you to arrange a pick-up time for your tech and IT equipment donation.

These items will then be wiped of all data, refurbished, and either recycled to a charity organisation or used for parts depending on the state and condition of the device.

You will receive a full impact statement and report in return, to feed back to your consumers and to prove your commitment to ethical IT recycling and a more sustainable approach to in-house tech.