What is the role of innovators such as Closing the Loop in turning the tech industry into a more sustainable one?
We believe that the tech industry has the potential to make circularity – a rather abstract and complex topic – relevant for each and every person on the globe by making their mobile devices waste-free. We offer users, buyers, and sellers of devices an easy way to compensate for the waste of the product they purchase and use.
To kick-start circularity, it is really important to show the opportunities that are available right now. Our partnership with Ingram Micro is a great example of how tech giants can team up with innovative companies that already offer ways to implement green, or ‘circular’ IT. Offerings that can be implemented fairly easily and in a pragmatic way help the industry and its customers to get started on the transition.
Why did Ingram Micro decide to partner with Closing the Loop?
Ingram Micro ensures that their company-owned notebooks go through a responsible disposal process. However, the notebooks that are resold to their clients and are eventually disposed of could end up as waste. By implementing Waste Compensation, Ingram Micro enables their notebooks to get a second, third or fourth life, and ensures that an equivalent amount of electronic waste is removed from the global waste stream. In this way, Ingram Micro not only prolongs the lifespan of their used electronic devices, but they also contribute to a worldwide circular economy. Their reuse program becomes ‘closed-loop’.
What are the advantages of implementing Waste Compensation?
Closing the Loop’s Waste Compensation model is smart, because it reduces electronic waste in places where this is needed most. Our work increases the re-use of scarce resources. Whenever used devices are resold, we do not know if it eventually ends up as waste, and Waste Compensation helps avoid a situation where scarce resources are wasted. This is a great first step in a long and challenging journey to improve the way electronics are handled. That being said: reuse is great, no doubt about it. We simply make it even better, by making it waste-free.
What are your recommendations when companies for getting started?
First, realize that it can be easy and cost-effective! Start looking for opportunities that are already out there. A lot of innovations to make existing IT processes greener or waste-neutral are already on the market. Take a look around, also outside of your own company, for example by connecting to circular service providers, green startups or by asking your vendors what green innovations they know of (preferably outside of their own portfolio). Eventually we all have to implement sustainable solutions, so look for ways to get started. But start simple, positively and try to engage your workforce. The latter is easier when the solution is easy to understand, if it’s appealing and if it has been proven.
What is your final message on what should be done to increase circularity for electronics?
Start with something you can do today, instead of in a couple of years. Whether it is prolonging the lifespan of the devices, reselling the devices or implementing compensation models, it’s better to start today than in a few years or decades. The circular economy is something we all have to contribute too: better to start today instead of tomorrow. OK, very final one: think opportunities. Sustainability and circularity are often seen in a problem focused manner. They are not: they offer positivity and value. Look for those elements and it will help you get/stay motivated.