Around 275 million notebook computers are produced and sold globally every year. Even though their manufacture requires a large amount of energy as well as a number of finite natural resources, their service life is often short. The typical IT contract is based on a three to four year use cycle. After that, many organizations face difficulties disposing of products, with many of them ending up as e-waste even though they are fully functioning. This way of handling IT products goes against the principles of the circular economy, where products should be kept in use for as long as possible, to save resources and retain value. The good news is the urge to implement more sustainable practices is growing. However, there are many choices to make during a notebook’s life cycle and it’s not always easy to know what’s best. We’ve looked into this issue to clarify what the most responsible way to manage notebook computers is. How can organizations reduce environmental impact and help promote a more circular life cycle?
Recycling — a less favorable solution in a circular economy
In theory, recycling may seem like a viable way to harvest precious metals and other materials from a notebook. But in reality, a very small amount of the assets included in our IT products are currently recovered in the recycling process. First of all, only around 20 per