Refurbishing has allowed us to be sustainable, offer excellent products to our customers, and help the environment reduce E-waste.
When we started back in 2001, we knew very little about E-waste and its impact on the environment.
Twenty years later, we are glad to get into the refurbishing business. The effect we unknowingly created by refurbishing motivated us to continue our work with an even more significant impact.
E-waste or electronic waste is an umbrella term used for all electrical products’ waste. Any outdated or unwanted electrical devices you wish to discard will produce E-waste, from your smartphone to your refrigerator.
E-waste is the fastest-growing stream of waste this is mainly due to how easily accessible electronic items have E-waste is the fastest-growing stream of waste, mainly due to how easily accessible electronic items have become globally. The increasing median household income and cheaper cost of owning a new smart device have made E-waste a problem that we should closely monitor. Despite that, we produce a whopping 1.6 million tonnes of E-waste a year.
Of the E-waste generated in the UK, more than 40% is exported and illegally dumped. E-waste usually contains a list of very harmful chemicals to people and the environment. E-waste has chemicals like Mercury, Lead, Beryllium, Arsenic, Cadmium. They can mix with land and soil and turn them very toxic if mishandled.
Estimates say that around £ 370 million worth of metals that ended up in landfills was finite metal. It may run out soon. Wind turbines, pacemakers, and solar panels use these metals.
As we understand the severity of the problem, we must think of what we can do immediately. What is within our locus of control, and how can we make a conscious step towards battling this challenge before it gets too late.
Refurbishing over Recycling
E-waste recycling involves extracting metals and non-metals from discarded electrical items. The extracted materials are recycled and used again. The limitation of recycling is a limit to the number of times we can recycle a material. Some parts cannot be recycled and end up in landfills. The extraction process also comes with many risks to the ones extracting. e.g., Extracting metal like gold from electronic chips is done by putting them in a hydrochloric and nitric acid solution.
On the other hand, refurbishing reuses the working parts of a discarded device. The benefit of reusing is that there is no limit on how many times a component can be reused. An experienced refurbisher can increase the lifespan of a device by many years without compromising the quality and performance of the device.
We have sold over five hundred thousand devices in the last ten years. This number means we have reduced the need for new machines manufactured by an average of twenty-five thousand devices a year.
Recycling also doesn’t reduce the manufacturing of new devices, which means there is no reduction in emissions caused by manufacturing new electronics. Refurbished machines work and are a great replacement if you are environmentally conscious.
Refurbishing can therefore increase the lifespan of a device. According to a study, increasing the lifespan of a device by 3-4 years can decrease the number of new machines manufactured by 25%.
Refurbishing and the Challenges
As technology rapidly grows and becomes cheaper, people can easily afford new devices. The fact that new devices under specific contexts are better is irrefutable.
Refurbished items often carry stigma around them, especially in terms of reliability.
Refurbish has no legal definition. A lack of legal definition means the quality of your items can vary from unused open box return to one made and repaired using recycled parts. It makes it very difficult to choose when buying a refurbished item. You can go through this quick checklist to help you through your first purchase.
i-Redo and the initiative
Over 20 years of refurbishing and helping the environment, we wanted to make a very conscious effort towards reducing E-waste. This means we have to monitor and evaluate our process closely and record quantifiable data to measure our impact.
There is also a need to provide our customers with a sense of confidence in refurbished products.
All our products come with a one-year warranty and thirty days return options. This warranty gives our customers the confidence to shop for refurbished products.
As we work on this initiative we have many questions on our mind;
- How do we inform our customers about our impact?
- What can we do to make our customers more comfortable and confident in shopping with us?
- What are the new developments in managing E-waste, and how do we leverage them better?
We would love for you to answer these questions. Our initiative is essential to us, and we want to work together with our customers to tackle the problem of E-waste. Engage with us on our social media and join our initiative.
If you have ideas on working better with our customers, do reach out to us.