UK workers call for employers to do more to recycle redundant workplace tech


UK employees are calling for their employers to do more to recycle responsibly the old, broken or redundant technology that is lying around their offices, new research has found.

The world has a growing problem with electronic waste (e-waste) and with organisations providing many of its staff with devices to enable remote or hybrid working, there are growing concerns that old technology could end up in landfill.

Research conducted with almost 1,200 UK employees, on behalf of circular IT provider, Stone Group, found that 65% have received new tech from their employer while old IT assets sit unused in offices.  As a result, 74% of UK employees want to see their organisation do more to ensure unwanted kit is disposed of responsibly. 

E-waste has become a massive issue globally. According to the latest E-waste Monitor, global e-waste (discarded products with a battery of plug) will reach 74 metric tonnes by 2030, almost a doubling of e-waste in just 16 years.  The large scale shift to remote and hybrid working has likely exacerbated the problem, with sales of IT to enable home working soaring while much office-based tech was left unused and redundant throughout the pandemic.

When it comes to tackling the growing e-waste crisis, 55% of UK employees believe it is businesses’ responsibility to do more. This is especially the case amongst younger generations, as 78% of UK employees aged 24 and younger agree that companies could be doing more to ensure all old kit is recycled, and this rises to 82% for 25- to 34-year-olds. Thirty percent of survey respondents also want the government to do more to address the problem.

Tim Westbrook, chief sales and marketing officer at Stone Group, commented, “It is really positive to see young professionals calling for their employers to do more to tackle the growing negative impact that e-waste is having on our environment. With many companies now back in the office or operating with a hybrid working model, they should conduct a thorough audit of their IT estate and identify where they have unused IT and dispose of it responsibly through a ‘zero waste to landfill’ IT asset recycling partner.”  

Stone Group has launched a new e-commerce website to make it as easy as possible for organisations to take a more sustainable approach to IT purchasing and disposal. The launch will offer any organisation the opportunity to purchase both new and refurbished IT, hire IT through their ‘as a service’ model, request services and support, and book recycling collections. 

Users can arrange for their unwanted tech to be picked up free of charge and taken to Stone’s dedicated IT asset recycling facility where items are securely wiped and either refurbished to give them a second life or disposed of with the commitment that nothing is sent to landfill. Stone then donates to the National Forest on behalf of the organisation to fund tree planting and other woodland management programmes.

Customers can also receive rebates for redundant equipment and boost the value of their rebates by choosing instead to spend it on new and/or refurbished IT with Stone. The site features refurbished products from big brands such as Apple, Samsung, HP, and Dell.

Westbrook adds, “As inflation soars, offering value and helping customers make their IT budgets go further is a key priority, but this should not come at the extent of sustainability. Our e-commerce site has been developed with the aim to make the IT buying cycle simultaneously beneficial to the customer and the environment.” 

This research was carried out by Opinion Matters on behalf of Stone Group.

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