Businesses have three options: destroy, recycle, or reuse it

CIO Review APAC | Thursday, February 03, 2022

The World Economic Forum (WEF) and the United Nations E-waste Coalition estimated in January 2022 that roughly 57.4 million tonnes of e-waste are produced each year.

FREMONT, CA: E-waste, or electronic trash, is a growing and global problem. The World Economic Forum (WEF) and the United Nations E-waste Coalition estimated in January 2022 that roughly 57.4 million tonnes of e-waste are produced each year, with the majority being burnt or deposited in landfills in the world's poorest countries. Much of the tech people used in their daily work lives – desktop PCs, network equipment, on-premise servers, and so on – has been left behind in offices since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting shift to home working, all while enterprises have had to equip their employees with replacement hardware so they can continue working remotely.

According to Fredrik Forslund, director of the International Data Sanitisation Consortium (IDSC), a firm that seeks to educate organizations and standards bodies about the permanent eradication of data, the need to provide replacement technology to remote workers caused a massive spike in demand for equipment. All second-hand goods sold out; the entire industry saw all inventory sell out; demand was sky-high, and neither the second-hand nor the first-hand markets could meet it. The demand increase was massive, he adds, saying that the influx of replacement gear will require an incredible amount of infrastructure to be recycled or reused.

Forslund and Rohini Khanduri, a director at IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) firm Ingram Micro, spoke to Computer Weekly about how businesses can cope with the e-waste problem, which was already large before the pandemic caused a massive purchase push for replacement technology. When a piece of equipment reaches the end of its useful life, businesses have three options: destroy, recycle, or reuse it. Although both have the same purpose of bringing the equipment back into the market, Khanduri explains that reuse is about re-deploying the same gadget while recycling is about breaking it down to its raw ingredients so that they can be redirected back into the manufacturing cycle.

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