By Dela Ahiawor (sustainability editor)
It’s “Circular Electronics Day” today, January 24-a day set aside to encourage organizations and consumers to adopt sustainable ways to prolong the life span of their electronic (IT) products in the bid to minimize electronic waste and environmental pollution.
The linear economy, involves the use of raw natural resources to manufacture products, which are used for a short period of time and discarded. This leads to pollution and the depletion of valuable natural resources and the accumulation of toxic electronic waste (e-waste).
On the other hand, in a circular economy, resources are handled in a more sustainable way. For electronic (IT) products, this means reducing the extraction of virgin natural resources, extending the use-life of electronic products and minimizing e-waste.
TCO Development, the entity behind the world’s leading sustainability certification for IT products (TCO Certified) serves up three (3) eco-friendly measures to help prolong the life span of your electronic products.
1. Extend the life of your IT products. Using products longer is the single most important thing to reduce the environmental footprint of your IT use. A single notebook computer generates around 300 kg of greenhouse gas emissions during its lifetime, of which almost 80 percent stem from the manufacturing phase. Upgrade and repair your products so they last longer and make use of the second hand/refurbish markets. If the vendor has a take-back scheme or if you are leasing the products, send the old products back so they can be handled responsibly.
2. Choose durable products. If you need a new (remember also considering the second hand market) product, choose durable products that can last longer. An easy way to do this is to look for products that carry a sustainability certification that includes robust criteria and requires independent verification. Consider climate compensate the e-waste footprint of your new product, either by recycling a product with a similar footprint or by purchasing the offsetting as a service.
3. Refurbish, remanufacture or recycle! Electronics contain valuable resources that can be reused or recycled. If it is not possible to reuse or sell your old products, send them to an extended producer responsibility scheme, an electronics recycler or a remanufacturer/refurbisher where they will be handled responsibly. Don´t let the products collect dust in your drawer or dispose them in the regular waste bin.
For six consecutive years, January 24, Circular Electronics Day is highlighted by the Circular Electronics Initiative to help promote sustainable IT.
Sustainable electronics ( IT) refers to electronic products made with recyclable parts with reduced carbon emissions and no toxic substances during the manufacturing process.