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recycling laptops

Will you embrace The Right to Repair legislation?

Recycling laptops and refurbishing computers are finally becoming a more popular choice for many schools and businesses. This is great news and a step in the right direction, taking us back to when our parents or grandparents attempted to fix things before considering buying a replacement! Many positive steps have been taken over the last

Nick Rawkins
19/03/2021

Recycling laptops and refurbishing computers are finally becoming a more popular choice for many schools and businesses.

This is great news and a step in the right direction, taking us back to when our parents or grandparents attempted to fix things before considering buying a replacement!

Many positive steps have been taken over the last decades to educate us on the damage we are inflicting on our planet. But there is still so much to be done to change the throwaway habits now ingrained in our psyche.

Our throwaway mentality 

Sadly, evidence of our throwaway society is everywhere, and not all businesses and schools are embracing a circular economy, choosing instead to skip rather than repair. 

But this attitude can’t be laid entirely at the consumer’s feet.

It’s not only the commonplace attitude that ‘it’s okay to throw’ when things are no longer fit for the purpose that is responsible for the situation. In too many cases, the decision to throw away rather than repair is because a repair is unfeasible.

The fridge that’s glued and welded together, so impossible to open and attempt a repair. Or the office fan whose parts are more expensive to source and ship than the cost of a new appliance.

Doesn’t it seem crazy to you that when one component breaks (and sometimes that’s no more than a minuscule diode!), it can often mean replacing the whole machine or appliance? Add on the carbon footprint impact of shipping, and it’s no wonder our planet is buckling under the strain and screaming loud and clear that enough really is enough.

The “right to repair” 

That’s the broad term for an initiative taking hold across Europe and America. It’s estimated that currently, 27 European countries and 15 American states will embrace a new way of thinking when tackling a reversal of the damage we have inflicted on our planet.

Without exception, our team were thrilled when we heard this news. 

In case it’s not been on your radar, here’s what’s happening…

Last October, the European Commission sanctioned regulations that will require the designers and manufacturers of products to think longer-term (at least ten years) and produce goods that also come with easier to source components for repairs. This will be effective from the 21st of April 2021.

As with all potentially groundbreaking initiatives, there are naysayers and doubters. As you might imagine, some manufacturers of equipment (OEMs) are concerned this decision could infringe their IP. And that unauthorised repairs could lead to injury.

Fortunately, that’s not so with reconditioned laptops and refurbished PCs. Certainly, at Reconome, we’re ‘not your average’ recycling company. Our engineers have proven they can breathe new life into almost any used device to give it a second chance!

But for many household items, it’s a complicated topic, and we’re sure you agree that a solution must be found to any potential challenges as our planet and the legacy we leave future generations must come first.

What’s the aim of the new regulations, and why does it matter?

The overarching aim is to cut the environmental footprint of manufactured goods by making them more durable and energy-efficient. 

And it matters because it’s no longer acceptable to read statements like this:

In a year, Europeans generate over 16 kilograms of electrical waste per person. At least 50% of that figure is because we dispose of, not repair, broken household appliances. The EU recycles an estimated 40% of this figure – so an unacceptable amount of potentially hazardous material is left to pollute our atmosphere and damage our planet.

Of course, with Brexit still on our minds, we can no longer use phrases like ‘as part of the EU we…’ but when this specific research was collated, the UK was indeed part of the EU, so we too are partly responsible for those statistics.  A report on the website Lets Recycle shares data to support that the UK is currently one of the largest producers of e-waste per capita in the West, which is a staggering statistic.

What does this mean for large corporations like yours?

It means your CSR targets can be easier to reach. You can now pass unwanted electronic and electrical items to companies who can repair them (because the parts will be available) to give to those who will benefit most and recycle them.

So, you will be able to set realistic CRS goals and reduce your carbon footprint without the too common practice of making a bold statement of intent, then holding your breath and hoping your teams can deliver. All the while, knowing, deep down, it is a wish more than a goal.

How can you take action?

You can embrace this initiative! Ensure the next time your business needs to dispose of or recycle WEEE (WEEE stands for Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment); you partner with a company that not only takes away ALL the complications often associated with asset disposal, e-waste and recycling. One that can enter you into a circular economy where nothing is wasted.

The Reconome area of expertise is end-of-life IT assets

We data-wipe, refurbish, then remarket them at incredibly affordable prices to high impact sectors like schools and charities.

However, you will find many reputable companies specialising in the responsible disposal and recycling of general electrical goods.

If you want to start making a difference and become part of 

a circular economy where nothing is wasted, talk to us – we are ready to help!