A partnership between two tech companies is helping battle the global e-waste crisis, one device at a time.
Sunderland-based IT recycling firm Rebuyer and Unified communications specialist Nice Network have joined forces to help some of the biggest names in business securely and sustainably dispose of their end of life electrical devices and equipment.
Over the past 12 months, the pair have helped refurbish and resell thousands of items, ranging from personal computers to mobile devices, laptops and tablets, which otherwise would have added to the world’s fastest growing waste stream, e-waste.
According to a recent report by the United Nations (UN), 50 million tonnes of e-waste is generated every year – and this figure is expected to more than double to over 110 million tonnes by 2050, due to the rise of new technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and wearables.
Rebuyer, which is based in Sunderland, started life four years ago and is championing a circular economy for the disposal of electrical goods by working with companies such as Nice Network to provide a viable solution to the growing amount of corporate electrical and electronic waste.
Simon Howartson, CEO and co-founder of Rebuyer, said: “Businesses nowadays are extremely tech focused, I don’t think there’s a single industry that hasn’t been affected in some way, shape or form by digital transformation.
“In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find any department of an organisation that doesn’t utilise some sort of smart technology.
“This means systems and devices are becoming extremely app heavy as a result, resulting in shorter life-spans and much faster disposal times.
“That’s what inspired us to launch Rebuyer. We have a team of experts – working to the strictest Government standards – who can securely sanitise devices, meaning we can provide organisations with a way to sustainably dispose of their end of life equipment and devices, while generating a completely new revenue stream in the process.
“By reselling the devices, we also help reduce the number of off-the-shelf devices being sold, which is another huge contributor to the e-waste crisis.
“The release of toxins from mining the minerals required to manufacture electronic goods can be extremely hazardous and has such a detrimental impact on the environment.”
Rebuyer began working with Nice Network last year after Simon was introduced to the company through a colleague.
The company provides total communications solutions to global brands such as Nike, Puma, Husqvarna and Drager, to name just a few, and has worked hand-in-hand with Rebuyer on a number of joint projects over the past year.
Simon added: “Nice Network is well known for its ethical business model.
“The company made headlines when it produced the first ever whitepaper on ethical selling for the telecoms industry and when we were introduced to the team we knew it was a perfect fit.
“The company’s commitment to being responsible has led to them becoming a trusted supplier to some of the world’s biggest brands and this has opened up so many doors for us.
“We’ve been working with the team for just over 12 months and we have already restored and re-sold hundreds of devices. We can’t wait to see what the future holds.”
Geoff Burns, head of sales and customer experience at Nice Network, said: “We have worked incredibly hard on increasing our own CSR activity over the past few years and reducing our carbon footprint has been central to this.
“When we met with Simon and the team at Rebuyer, we couldn’t wait to get involved with the project.
“Not only have they created a business model that drives profits – but it also drives positive change for the environment.
“It’s a perfect example of the benefits that can be reaped by companies being responsible and embracing the circular economy.
“However, while we’re incredibly proud of all the work we’ve done so far – and how the relationship has grown over the last 12 months – we’re also aware that we can’t rest on our laurels and that more must be done to tackle e-waste, which is now one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world.
“Businesses and individuals alike have a responsibility to ensure they safely and securely dispose of their end-of-life electronic equipment and devices and we’d encourage anyone looking to do so, to research the topic and ensure they do so in a responsible manner. We all have a part to play in tackling the problem.”