This opinion piece is published by Future of Sourcing

To meet both climate and budget goals, we need to use our laptops longer.

With greater attention on sustainability and the direct need to meet climate goals, purchasers are looking for ways to change. One place to start is with the 170 million notebook computers produced and sold around the world every year. Rethinking an organization’s purchase and use of IT products like those notebooks can dramatically cut an organization’s carbon footprint – and save money – without affecting performance.

The current way of purchasing, using, and disposing of IT products is the legacy of a linear economy, where natural resources are used to create products that are in use only a short time before they must be disposed of as waste. Many organizations are transitioning to what’s known as a circular economy, where products are kept in use for as long as possible, to save resources, retain value and minimize waste. It’s a challenging transition that requires changing the way organizations source IT equipment.

The typical IT contract is based on a three- to four-year use cycle. At the end of each cycle, some organizations turn to recycling their products, seeing it as a responsible way to dispose of them. But, in reality, only about 20% of global e-waste actually reaches controlled recycling facilities, and a minimal amount of materials included in notebooks and other IT products can be recovered in the recycling process. The rest may end up in a landfill, incinerated or illegally exported to regions where e-waste legislation is weak or non-existent.