When you work in technology, there’s often a reason to be buying a new electronic device, whether you’re investing in a new gadget, replacing a monitor that’s stopped working, or upgrading your phone to the latest model.
Even if you don’t work in tech, the chances are you’ve replaced at least one of your electrical appliances in the past year. Our ever-growing reliance on technology and our tendency to constantly replace and upgrade has now created a global electronic waste (e-waste) problem.
We recently heard from Mike Carroll, resident of GridAKL / John Lysaght and founder of Brightly, an IT company providing IT services and working to make companies act more sustainably with their electrical equipment.
Why should you care?
Ultimately, we live in a world of finite resources. Whatever we use remains on the Earth. Rare minerals frequently used in electrical products, such as cobalt, gold, and copper, have a severe environmental impact when they are mined and consumed, let alone when it comes to disposal.
At the same time, most major companies producing electrical goods are intentionally building products to become obsolete within a short lifespan. Although many deny this, “planned obsolescence” can be seen in how frequently our mobile phones and other gadgets need replacing.
We can’t continue to consume at our current rate and keep expecting more, newer products to be available.
So, what can we do about it?
Mike and Bryghtly’s vision is for circular and regenerative practices to become the norm, fully minimising the negative effects of e-waste on the Earth. However, with a very limited number of manufacturers working to this standard, the vision is still a while away yet.
In the meantime, Mike urges business owners and anybody needing to buy electrical products to do three things:
Take the time to consider whether you really need to buy a new product. Question what you’re buying, why and whether there are alternatives that have less of a negative environmental impact.
Look into whether upgrades to your existing hardware are possible. It’s also a great idea to use cloud systems to reduce the amount of electrical hardware your business requires.
Brightly also provide services to repurpose your existing hardware once you no longer have a use for it. This could involve rebuilding it for another customer or sometimes donating equipment to charity.
And finally, if the steps above aren’t possible, look at your recycling options. Seek some advice on the best way to dispose of your e-waste to ensure as much as possible can be recycled rather than heading to landfill.
This blog post was written by Laura Briggs, part of the Community Team at GridAKL / John Lysaght. With a special thanks to Mike Carroll from Brightly.