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Circular I.T.

How to extend the life of your I.T. and manage products in a circular way
Circular IT

More than 20 organisations have got behind 2021’s global Circular Electronics Day (24 January), hoping to inspire people to buy and manage their electronics in a circular way, extend product life and prevent toxic e-waste.

While large corporate and public sector I.T. buyers are used to including sustainability factors when buying computers and other devices, not all consumers are aware of what actions they can take.

The organisations behind Circular Electronics Day want everyone to know that smart choices on what to buy, and how to manage your products throughout their life, can make a big difference for the environment and human health – and can even save you money. 

‘Whether you’re buying for 10 000 employees or just for yourself, our hands-on tips and best practices are here to help show that it’s actually easy to do the right thing and get more circular with your computers and other digital devices!’

TCO Development, one of the founding organisations of Circular Electronics Day

Impacts of a linear economy

In the linear economy, we take virgin natural resources to manufacture products, which often have a short lifespan before they are discarded.

This leads to a number of serious sustainability issues, affecting human health and the ecosystem.

Valuable natural resources are depleted and toxic e-waste is accumulating at the record rate of 50 million metric tonnes every year.

This equals the weight of nearly 4,500 Eiffel Towers or over eight Pyramids of Giza.

Adding to the problem, e-waste is often handled in unsafe ways, leading to human health problems and environmental degradation.

Why to go circular

In a circular economy, resources are handled in a more responsible way. For electronics, this means reducing virgin resource extraction, extending use-life of products and minimising waste and pollution.

There are a number of things everyone can do: here are TCO’s top five ways to manage your I.T. products in a circular way:

1. Extend the life of your I.T. products
This is the single most important thing you can do to reduce the environmental footprint of your IT use. Upgrade and repair your products so they last longer. Used products are in high demand, so make use of the second-hand market and buy and sell your products there. 

2. Choose new IT wisely
If you need to buy a new product, choose products that carry a sustainability certification that includes robust criteria and requires third-party verification. 

3. Choose a durable product that can last longer
Avoid buying unrepairable electronics that you may risk having to throw away after a short usage time.

4. Offset new products
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.

5. Don’t throw it out!
Electronics contain valuable resources that can be reused. If it’s not possible to reuse or sell your old products, take them to an electronics recycler or refurbisher where they will be handled responsibly.  

‘This year, we want Circular Electronics Day to highlight real-life examples of how organisations and consumers alike contribute to building a circular economy by managing their IT products. By using the social media hashtag #CircularElectronicsDay you can join the conversation.

‘Everyone can do something. Engage your organisation in a positive way by asking for more sustainable electronic products or start with your own electronics use. Each step toward more circular management of IT products is a win for the planet!’

TCO Development, one of the founding organisations of Circular Electronics Day

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