According to a study by the research firm Gartner, the number of personal computers in use around world surpassed 1 billion in 2008. Growing at the pace that it is, this figure will double every four years.
A look at the statistics provided by EPA, in 2010 in the US alone, 1.375 million computer units and related hardware items (including CPUs, desktops, portables, monitors, hard copy devices, keyboards and mice) were disposed . Out of these only 29% were recycled.
EPA’s research also shows that in 2012, 3.4 million tons of e-waste was generated in US. Only 29% of this was recycled and the rest was trashed in landfills or incinerators.
Yes, we are using a lot of IT equipment and yes we will continue using much more than we already are. But what are we going to do about the growing mountain of e-waste in landfills? Most environmental-friendly way to deal with the e-waste piling up our landfills is of course recycling, and more so, refurbishing.
Once refurbished computers were thought of as equipment which are “not good enough” or which “might not match the quality standards.” Buying refurbished was what students or individuals with tight budgets would consider. Companies looking to cut cost would too consider buying refurbished.
This mindset has seen a shift over the past few years. Environmentally-conscious individuals are buying refurbished out of choice. Environmentally- corporates who are aiming to lessen their carbon footprint are also buying refurbished.
Today refurbished is considered not a ‘cheap’ way of living but rather the “frugal and the right” way of living.
What is a ‘refurbished’ unit?
Discarded computer units undergo a rigorous re-manufacturing process (e.g. physically cleaned, wiped and reinstalled, inspected) before being sold or provided as refurbished. In fact, many a times, buying a refurbished computer allows user to get a better specification for the same price.
How do refurbished computers help the environment?
Lessening Environmental Baggage
Refurbishing diverts the e-waste from landfill and reroutes it back in our houses or offices thus reducing the constraint on environment for trashing the product. Refurbishing also extends the life of computer equipment which is the best environmental outcome for any such product.
Optimum Use of Resources
Production of electronic devices is a very resource -intensive process. So much so, the burden that environment bears due to devices such as computers, exceeds that due to the manufacturing of any other household item. According to the report “E-waste, the hidden side of IT equipment’s manufacturing and use” by United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP),
“The manufacturing of a computer and its screen takes at least 240 kg (530 pounds) of fossil fuels, 22 kg (48 pounds) of chemicals and 1.5 tonnes of water - more than the weight of a rhinoceros or a car.”
Therefore, it is wiser that instead of rampant trashing, we use computers to their very last breath possible. This in turn is achievable through refurbishing the product.
Refurbishing cuts the cost of the computers thus making them affordable for population that otherwise are not able to afford PC. It also is a great alternative for technological needs of BGOs or even many small-business startups.
Refurbishing and hence reusing creates more jobs in comparison to dumping them at a landfill - “296 more jobs per for every 10,000 tons of material disposed each year.”
The process of refurbishment contains all good things like limited use of raw materials, preserving natural resources and reducing energy costs. Therefore, refurbished computers are a wonderful way to help the environment go greener and you to breathe better.