Circular Technologies : How can we solve the problem?

Enrico Agnese, Rafael Perez Medina.
July 12, 2022

According to the Global E-Waste Monitor estimate the amount of e-waste will reach 74Mt by 2030 with an increase of more than double the amount over a 16 year period (2014-2030). We have already mentioned that the economy, in order to progress in all its sectors, needs more and more high-performance devices, but we have not mentioned that these devices have the highest rate of wear and tear, have a short life cycle (3 to 5 years), have few repair options and are difficult to reuse. All these characteristics make it the fastest growing waste stream in the world and counting that, again according to data provided by the Global E-Waste Monitor, only 17.4%, globally, is recycled properly. We are faced with a problem that grows exponentially at the expense of a slow process of recovery and reuse.

To start addressing the waste problem is needed is what in Environmental Economics called "decoupling", i.e., the reduction of the impact on the environment generated by economic and demographic growth, as a result of a more efficient use of resources or the introduction of technologies that reduce their consumption or the formation of waste at certain levels of production.

There are simply not enough resources to maintain the current growth trend, but there are viable alternatives in the repair and reuse of these devices, and as a last option the disposal and recycling of materials at the end of the life cycle. In terms of numbers (data reported by GEM 2020) amounts to a potential value of 57 billion euros, which could turn e-waste into the new open pit mines.

To this we add a very important fact; since most of CO2e emissions occur in the phase of extraction of raw materials and production (90%) a sustainable policy of reuse and recycling would drastically reduce the emissions of the sector.

The transition towards a circular model is more necessary and fundamental than ever to fully exploit these resources and is a valid opportunity to fight climate change and make the ICT sector eco-sustainable, with a series of simple actions ranging from the extension of the life cycle of devices, to the use of certified refurbished and a proper management of EOL.

Circular Technologies, to solve this problem, has developed a project to transform linearity in the ICT sector into circularity.

This is possible through two main initiatives: the proper management of ICT products, through a series of actions related to the traceability of the product and the digitalization of the sector, to simplify the communication between the various actors that will be: large companies, which every year need to update their fleet of devices, the refurbishers, who have the opportunity to find products suitable to be revitalised, the SMEs or the PA that can have access to technology at more affordable prices and scrapers to whom the EOLs are destined.

To do all of this requires a digital ecosystem that meets all needs, has traceability and certifies ecological impact and we Circular Technologies has developed it.