A United Nations University (UNU) report has revealed that the amount of global e-waste reached 41.8 million tonnes in 2014*. While the main culprits were discarded kitchen, laundry and bathroom equipment, there was 6.3 million tonnes of screens and 3 million tonnes of small ICT equipment, showing that businesses also share in the blame…
A United Nations University (UNU) report has revealed that the amount of global e-waste reached 41.8 million tonnes in 2014*. While the main culprits were discarded kitchen, laundry and bathroom equipment, there was 6.3 million tonnes of screens and 3 million tonnes of small ICT equipment, showing that businesses also share in the blame. Askar Sheibani, CEO of IT and telecoms repair and support company, Comtek, believes that not enough is being done to tackle the record levels of global e-waste, particularly in regards to prolonging the life of existing equipment.
“The UNU’s findings, that global e-waste reached 41.8 million tonnes in 2014, shows the sheer extent of our global e-waste problem. Part of the problem is that many businesses are ripping out and replacing ‘old’ IT and telecoms equipment, without properly considering that it would be fully functional, perhaps with a small repair. In addition, manufacturers are ceaselessly encouraging companies to upgrade, regardless of the fact that existing equipment is perfectly usable, costs businesses less and will have less impact on the environment.
“The environment is taking a huge beating as a result of the throwaway culture amongst businesses. Not only are those resources being wastefully sent to landfill, but the report revealed that e-waste has created a ‘toxic mine’ of hazardous substances, which businesses are giving little thought to at all. On top of this, many of these resources ending up in landfill – such as gold, copper and silver – are extremely precious and, by throwing them in the tip, we are draining the economy of valuable, lucrative resources.
“The Government and businesses need to work together to change existing habits when it comes to e-waste and help to create a more circular economy. Whether it’s through tax incentives, regulations or even in the Government’s own procurement, a more ethical approach needs to be encouraged. What’s more, repairing IT and telecoms equipment can keep products ticking along for up to four times the manufacturers predicted lifespan, proving that there is still much life in the equipment that ends up in landfill. When equipment does come to its true end of life, elements within them still have a use, and by finding the right partners, this won’t go to waste. Ultimately, a more conscientious approach will save businesses money, make better use the UK’s valuable resources for the benefit of our economy, and save the environment.”
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