On January 24, Circular Electronics Day takes place for the second time, with the aim to encourage people to repair, reuse and upgrade electronics to extend the lifespan older equipment.
Today’s extensive consumption of electronics lead to alarming amounts of waste and the release of substances hazardous to human health and the environment.
Finite natural resources are extracted from the ground at a fast rate and reserves are running low. By prolonging product life, individuals and organizations can contribute to a more sustainable future.
More than twelve organisations internationally stand behind the Circular Electronics Day initiative, which aims to increase awareness of why electronic products should be given a longer life through repairs, upgrades and reuse.
50 million metric tons of electronic waste is being generated per year worldwide. E-waste contains valuable metals as well as hazardous substances that are often released into the environment s and affect human health.
Even more waste is generated when the products are manufactured — to make a notebook computer, 1,200 kilograms of waste is produced, for example from the mining and metals industries.
The environmental problems are a result of today’s linear economy where raw materials are extracted to manufacture products which often have a short lifespan before they are discarded.
“We need to make the transition to the circular economy where products and materials are handled in a responsible way,” said Andreas Rehn, project manager of criteria development at TCO Development, the organisation behind sustainability certification for IT products, TCO Certified.
“The aim is to maximise product lifetime and handle discarded products as valuable resources, used to manufacture new products.”
The organisers of the initiative encourage both individuals and organisations to contribute to a more sustainable use of electronics by sharing tips and inspiring others to reuse products with the hashtag #CircularElectronicsDay.
Five easy steps that can extend the lifespan of electronics
- Buy your product second hand. By asking for used products or products that are designed for reuse, both individuals and organisations can contribute.
- Consider if it is possible to repair or sell your product. By erasing old data, refurbishing and upgrading it, you can give it a longer life.
- If you must buy a new product, choose one that is certified according to a sustainability certification compliant with ISO 14024. Criteria must then be comprehensive, relevant and cover the product’s full life cycle and compliance with the criteria must be verified by an independent part.
- Purchase a high-performance product. It enables you to keep it for a longer period of time.
- Electronics contain valuable resources and shouldn’t be treated as waste. If it’s not possible to reuse or sell your old products, hand them in to a recycling facility or another collection point where the materials are taken care of. Many retailers accept that you leave your old products with them for recycling.