The technology sector is always growing at a rapid pace. With new devices being released all the time, it’s inevitable that tech users will seek the latest electronics without knowing the impact that this constant churn has on the environment.

‘E-waste’ is becoming a hot topic, but it’s not a widely known term for all. So, what exactly is E-waste and what is being done about it? We’ve got everything covered right here.

What is E-Waste?

E-waste, otherwise known as electronic waste, is a term used to describe all types of electronic equipment that’s either at the end of its life or is discarded by the owner as it’s no longer in use. E-waste covers the disposal of any electronic item from fridges to phones. It’s particularly prominent among phones that have “expired” as the user moves on to a newer model.

Many tech companies are big contributors to e-waste with their constant releases of new models, encouraging consumers to buy more without thinking of the impact on the environment.

Why is E-Waste an Issue?

As many broken or unwanted electronics end up in landfill, it causes toxic substances from the devices to be leaked into the environment, ultimately, having a negative impact on wildlife and surrounding nature. With the UK being one of the largest e-waste contributors in the world (per capita), the problem is stark.

Whilst there are conscious efforts being made to reduce the UK’s impact of e-waste through refurbished technology and wider electronic recycling programmes, there is still much more to be done.

How tier1 Online Helps Reduce the UK’s E-Waste Problem

tier1 is the UK’s number one IT Lifecycle services organisation. Our focus is firmly fixed on reducing the level of e-waste through our refurbishing, re-using, and re-selling model.

Through our graded refurbished laptops and refurbished desktops, we have processed over 600,000 devices in our 25 years of operating. Of this number, 240,000 devices have been recycled as they were not viable for reuse, but more than 300,000 have been refurbished and reused, or sold, saving 74,456,236 kg of CO2e.

Devices that can’t be reused are either recycled at our Maldon site or at our recycling plant at HMP Hindley.

E-Waste Categories

When discussing electronic waste, it’s not a one-type-fits-all scenario. The modern consumer holds various electronics in their home, so e-waste isn’t just confined to laptops or mobile devices. The different types of WEEE (Waste Electrical Electronic Equipment) include:

  • Fridges, freezers, and other cooling equipment
  • Computers, laptops, desktops, and tablets
  • Mobile phones
  • Consumer electronic devices and solar panels
  • TVs, monitors and screens
  • LED bulbs
  • Vending machines
  • Medical equipment
  • Toys and leisure equipment

The UK government classify different electronic equipment in codes to help with safe disposal. With the sheer volume of different electronics that UK consumers use, it’s inevitable we are one of the top contributors to e-waste. It’s therefore vital that awareness is raised to ensure that old tech is being properly recycled or reused.

Technology users can also reduce their personal e-waste by repairing their electronics rather than disposing of them or purchasing a new one. A study conducted in 2020 by YouGov found that 45% of smartphone users would rather buy a new phone than have it repaired. This figure stood at 31% for laptops.

How to Dispose of Technological Waste

All technology has an expiration date and there are times where disposing of your devices is unavoidable. For large companies, it can be difficult to safely dispose of electronic devices without being a significant contributor to e-waste. At tier1 Online, companies can contact us for waste-disposal support to help close the gap on technology waste. Contact us today!

Whilst our disposal process isn’t available for consumers, there are many ways electronic items can be safely disposed of. Some local councils may accept small electronic items as a part of their home recycling schemes, or there are other recycling points to use. Find more information from Recycle Now.

Whilst electronic waste is growing at an alarming rate, there are measures consumers can take to help ease the strain on the environment. At tier1, our mission is to help build a circular economy, where extending the lifespan of technology, and significantly cutting down on wastage will help to create a more sustainable future.

Discover more about our sustainability process.