Circular Electronics Day strives to extend product life

Thursday, 21 January, 2021

Circular Electronics Day strives to extend product life

On 24 January, more than 20 organisations will take part in the global Circular Electronics Day, to inspire people to buy and manage their electronics in a circular way, extending product life and preventing toxic e-waste.

The organisations behind Circular Electronics Day want attendees to know that smart choices on what they buy and how to manage their products throughout their life can make a big difference for the environment and human health.

In the linear economy, virgin natural resources are used to manufacture products, which often have a short lifespan before they are discarded. This leads to many sustainability issues, affecting human health and the ecosystem. Valuable natural resources are depleted and toxic e-waste is accumulating at a rate of 50 million metric tonnes every year.

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

In a circular economy, resources are handled more responsibly, with reduced virgin resource extraction, extending the use-life of products and minimising waste and pollution.

“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!” said Clare Hobby, from TCO Development, one of the founding organisations of Circular Electronics Day.

The Circular Electronics Day website provides a range of resources, including best practices and an informational quiz, designed to help people taking the first step in managing their IT products in a circular way.

“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,” Hobby said.

Extending the life of IT products can help reduce the environmental footprint of IT use. Upgrading and repairing products can also help them last longer. With used products in high demand, people are urged to use the second-hand market to buy and sell their products.

Those that need to buy a new product can choose those that feature a sustainability certification that includes robust criteria and require third-party verification. People are urged to purchase durable products that can last longer, and avoid buying unrepairable electronics that may be thrown away after a short usage time.

Electronics contain valuable resources that can be reused. If it’s not possible to reuse or sell old products, take them to an electronics recycler or refurbisher, where they will be handled responsibly. People are also urged to climate compensate the e-waste footprint of their new product, either by recycling a product with a similar footprint or by purchasing the offsetting as a service.

“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!” Hobby said.

Image credit: © Popov

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