Information technology (IT)

HOW THE IT INDUSTRY CAN CONTRIBUTE TO CIRCULAR ECONOMY

Information Technoloy industry + Circular Economy

Circular Supplies

Supply fully renewable, recyclable, or biodegradable resources

Product Life Extension

extending the lifecycle of a product by repairing, upgrading, or reselling

Product As Service

Products are used by customers through leaser or pay-for-use arrangements

Municipal and federal governments spend between two-four percent of operating budgets on information technology. Worldwide, $1 trillion US is spent every year generating more than fifty million tonnes of waste that is disposed of in landfills, which is equivalent to 800 laptops every second. 

 

Consumption of electronics also creates one of the most rapidly growing waste streams. According to the United Nations statistics on SDG 12, e-waste generation in Europe and North America increased from 15 kg to 17.5 kg per capita between 2010 and 2019. Production of IT is equally detrimental because it is resource-intensive and requires continuous mining of virgin resources. 

 

Eighty percent of the smartphone’s greenhouse gas emissions, for example, comes from production; 16 percent from customer use; three percent in transport; and one percent in recycling. In addition to greenhouse gases, electronics contain harmful chemicals like mercury, brominated flame retardants, and arsenic, which build up in our bodies and can cause severe consequences to human health. 

 

Public sector procurers and suppliers realize the need to change IT’s linear pattern to focus on retaining the value of resources, using waste as production inputs, and extending the life of IT products. By purposefully applying circular principles like reuse, repair, recyclability, or resale into procurement requirements, the amount of material lost to disposal is reduced, and existing resources are reintegrated into production cycles to create demand for circular business models like circular supplies, resource recovery, and product life extension.  

EXAMPLE

How HP Is Advancing The Circular Economy

HP has committed to advancing the circular economy and has adapted its business model to focus on working within its supply chain to support circular supplies, product life extension, and product as service.

Circular Supplies

Plastic from recycled Original HP cartridges (plus recycled bottles and clothing hangers) are used to create new Original HP cartridges through the HP Planet Partners return and recycling program.

With the First Mile Coalition and supplier partners, HP has also built a fully integrated ocean-bound plastics supply chain that collects millions of plastic bottles from Haiti for upcycling into HP supplies and hardware products.

With a commitment to use 30% post-consumer plastic in its print and PC portfolio by 2025, HP continues to innovate by including ocean-bound plastics in its products.

Product Life Extension

HP designs products with sustainability and longevity in mind so that repairs and upgrades are made possible.

By providing manuals and parts, HP facilitates repair and received a 10/10 iFixit repairability score for its EliteBook 800 G5 Business Notebook series. In the future, HP will create parts for future repair only when needed with on-demand 3D printing.

Product as Service

HP Instant Ink is an innovative service that allows customers to pay per printed page instead of purchasing ink cartridges.

The printer automatically re-orders ink cartridges when needed, and the box includes a prepaid shipping envelope for product take-back.

JOIN US

Awareness of the negative effects of unsustainable consumption and production, and the link to the current linear economy of take-make-waste, is an important priority in today’s society. Governments, businesses, and communities worldwide realize the need to fundamentally and systematically shift patterns of production and consumption. The circular economy offers an alternative and reinvented economic model that is holistic in nature and drives economic prosperity while protecting the environment to benefit society.

We are on the cusp of the circular economy in Canada and collaboration is crucial to advance it.

For information on how to further align efforts to support greater circularity, a customized partnership proposal is available on request. Contact for more information.