Recycling Computers is Actually Hurting the Environment - Is There a Better Way?

Recycling Computers is Actually Hurting the Environment - Is There a Better Way?

Posted by Team Recompute on 14th Nov 2018

Refurbished Computers and the Circular Economy 

When you choose refurbished computers, you're playing an important role in the circular economy. Read on to learn more about this trend and what it means for the future.

  • Australians generated nearly 64 million tons of waste from 2014–2015, and we recycled nearly 60% of that waste. 
  • What if recycling is not enough? What if there was a different way to change the way we view manufacturing and consumption? 
  • A circular economy can reduce waste and create products that can be reused. One way to contribute to a circular economy is by choosing refurbished computers. 

Want to learn more? Read on to learn what a circular is economy and how you can play a role in it.

The Circular Economy? 

Growth in our economies often comes from natural resource consumption. Instead of tossing manufactured goods out, we can reuse them by putting the products back in use elsewhere.

In nature resources are used and then given back to nature to be likewise re-used. If economies of the future can operate in keeping with this philosophy, by returning finished goods back into the economy to likewise be re-used the future of our planet will be brighter.

Currently, we have a linear economy that isn't sustainable because of the consumption of natural resources and the waste we produce. Instead of reusing products or materials, we're filling up landfills. We buy cheaply manufactured products and throw them away as soon as they appear used. 

Technical and Biological Cycles 

In a circular economy, there are biological cycles and technical cycles. Biological cycles include food and other biological resources such as cotton. With this system, the biological materials go back into the earth through natural processes such as composting.

Technical cycles involve manufactured products. The goal of a technical cycle is to restore items and their materials. This is done in different ways such as reusing, repairing, refurbishing, or recycling. Of these, recycling should be a last resort.

What Is Refurbishing? 

Refurbishing means taking a product and restoring it to its original function. The end product will typically be in the same working condition the product was in when it was first produced, or better.

Computers are a commonly refurbished electronic product. A refurbished computer undergoes extensive automated and manual testing and faulty and degraded parts are replaced. A refurbished, second hand, computer or laptop will also usually come with a warranty from the seller thereby guaranteeing continued value of the product.

Buying a refurbished computer is not the same as buying used. A computer refurbisher creates value by testing, fixing, and guaranteeing used computers, laptops, servers, monitors — the entire plethora of these magnificent devices that have transformed the world. All of this value doesn’t come out of thin air either. It creates jobs by employing people with the skills to support this complex and well needed industry.

Refurbished Computers and the Circular Economy? 

Buying a refurbished computer is a more environmentally responsible choice than buying a brand new one. If more people bought refurbished computers instead of new ones, that would mean: 

Less harmful and toxic electronic waste due to fewer computers being thrown away 

a. The United Nations says that the world produces nearly 50 million metric tons of electronic waste yearly.

b. According to Greenpeace Electronic waste can spread toxic chemicals such as lead, mercury, and cadmium.

  • Less fossil fuels burned delivering the product from the manufacturer to consumers, since the refurbishing ecosystem is usually much closer to home. 
  • More value added into the local economy, since refurbishers usually operate in the local economy, and therefore create jobs there. 
  • Less manufacturing and byproducts of manufacturing. There is also less demand for raw materials. Unbridled manufacturing and consumption of raw materials is unsustainable. 
  • Better value for money for consumers who can get the all the computing power they need, without having to sacrifice all other spending to do so. Tell us how you spent the money you saved by buying refurbished!

By reusing computers, we are contributing to the circular economy and closing the loop.

Learn More About Refurbished Computers 

Buying refurbished can benefit the environment by reducing waste and using less of our limited resources. If you're interested in purchasing refurbished computers, check out our product listings.