Only half of senior IT business leaders are aware of the economic value of e-waste: report

Only half (50%) of senior IT business leaders say they are aware of the potential economic value that resides in their organisations’ electronic waste, according to findings of the report Rethinking E-waste in a Circular Economy by hardware and software vendor Lenovo.

Despite the majority (75%) of IT business leaders saying their organisation measures and tracks the amount of e-waste they create annually, there is a gap on how to maximise the value in e-waste – for example, by selling it to a business to recycle and salvage reusable components and metals.

Meanwhile, according to the Global E-waste Monitor, high-value recoverable materials, such as gold, conservatively valued at US$57 billion ($83.4 billion), are being lost to landfill and incinerators.

“Transitioning to a circular economy has never been more critical for our planet. We must continue finding ways to decouple growth from consumption,” Lenovo ANZ managing director Matt Codrington said.

The report also found e-waste is a missed opportunity that organisation should capitalise on from a people perspective—almost nine in ten (88%) employees say awareness of their employer’s actions to dispose of end-of-life technology in a sustainable way would make them feel more positive towards their employer.

The report lists key research findings:

· Lack of awareness of business value of e-waste: Only half (50%) of senior IT business leaders said that they are ‘very aware’ of the potential economic value of their organisation’s e-waste, while 39% are only somewhat aware and 9% said they don’t even consider it.

· Disposing of e-waste in a sustainable way to attract and retain talent: Almost nine in 10 (88%) employees say awareness of their employer’s actions to dispose of end-of-life technology in a sustainable way would make them feel more positive towards their employer. Seven in ten (70%) Australian workers agree that knowing that an employer disposes of their old technology in a sustainable way will make them more likely to want to work for them, with 31% strongly agreeing with this sentiment.

· More e-waste action needed: Just four in 10 (39%) senior IT business leaders say their organisation places a high priority on ESG issues. Despite high levels of awareness of IT hardware recycling services (96%), more than one in three (35%) surveyed would not know how to go about using these services (31%) or do not know that they exist (4%).

· Taking a circular approach to e-waste is critical: Fifty-nine percent of senior IT business leaders surveyed reported that their organisation increased the amount of hardware they purchased for staff to use during the COVID-19 pandemic and overall purchases went up by 7.3% on average.

To bring awareness to the potential value of e-waste, Lenovo collaborated with jeweller Holly Ryan. Through this initiative, Holly Ryan has created an exclusive range of rings made from metals from recycled e-waste.

Lenovo Precious Metals is a set of four unique, one-off designer rings created by Holly and made from metals retrieved from e-waste – gold, silver and platinum – breathing new life into old technology.

“By 2025, Lenovo will have enabled the recycling and reuse of 362 million kilograms of end-of-life products and 76% of PC parts returned to our service centre will be repaired for future use,” Codrington said.

“One way in which we do this is through our Asset Recovery Services, which help businesses get the most out of their end-of-life hardware.”

“Since the beginning of this fiscal year, we have already seen a 43% YoY increase in the number of customers using Lenovo’s Asset Recovery Services. It is fantastic to witness so many of our customers rethinking the lifecycle of technology products, ensuring that every recoverable material from every single device can be reused at end of life,” concluded Codrington.


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