As we’ve discussed countless times – eWaste has quickly become one of the world’s biggest dilemmas.

Consumers demand for new and exciting technology is unquenchable – whilst limited amounts of precious metals, accompanied by poor recycling rates have pushed the planet to its limits.

So how can this trend be tackled?

Improve repairability

Products these days are designed to be as customer friendly as possible. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for repairability.

Customers face a plethora of hurdles when trying to repair faulty products. For example, finding parts to fix issues is far harder than it should be.

A good example of a business making positive strides when it comes to repairability is Google. Seventy-five per cent of the spare parts used by Google to repair its data centre servers are used parts.

Part harvesting could also be made easier with new product design. For example, dissolvable circuit boards could help recover spare parts from IT equipment.

Greater focus on refurb

The fact that buying refurbished tech hasn’t become a social norm is somewhat staggering. It makes no environmental sense to recycle an electronic appliance that can be reused.

For example, keeping a smartphone in use for an additional year cuts its CO2 impact by 31%.

On top of that, it makes no economic sense either. A reused iPhone retains around 48% of its original value, whereas its value as recyclate is just 0.24%.

At Tier 1, when we prepare a product for recycling it goes through a rigorous process that ensures it is in excellent working order.

In fact, if a product is listed as Grade A quality, we believe you would struggle to notice the difference between it and a brand new product.

Design for repair, reuse or refurbishing

In the modern day, manufacturers have little economic or legal incentive to manufacture products designed for repair, reuse or refurbishing.

Why would they spend additional money designing modular components, manufacturing repairable products or buying durable parts if they cannot recoup part of this value?

However, more developers are starting to offer their products as services – which makes it more profitable to create a lasting product.

For example, when Apple started its iPhone subscription programme, it is said to have designed stronger and more resilient iPhones by including a harder aluminium case, a stronger cover glass, as well as additional gaskets and seals that improve water resistance.

If we, as a society, can create a system that works as a circular economy – where products are used, repaired, and then reused – the continuous growth in eWaste could quickly be stemmed, and hopefully reversed.

If you would like to chat to someone at Tier 1 about responsibly disposing of your unwanted computers, or are looking to buy new tech for your office, then call us on 0161 777 1000.

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