Why is electronic devices reconditioning instrumental to limit climate change?
The world we live in is highly reliant on technology, and it's hard to imagine a day without electronic devices. However, the production of electronic devices contributes significantly to environmental pollution. It's estimated that the electronic device industry is responsible for around 50 million tons of e-waste globally. Reconditioning electronic devices can significantly reduce this waste through restoring used devices to their original condition.
The electronic devices industry and climate change
Pollution in the electronics devices industry
The electronic devices industry is responsible for a significant amount of environmental pollution. In fact, it has been estimated that the production of electronic devices accounts for 2-3% of global greenhouse gas emissions, with the manufacturing process alone producing 50-80% of the device's total emissions. This energy is often generated from non-renewable fossil fuels, resulting in the release of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.
The production of electronic devices also requires a significant amount of water, which can become contaminated with chemicals and other pollutants during the manufacturing process. This can lead to water pollution and harm aquatic life.
Electronic waste problem
Electronic waste, or e-waste, is a growing problem worldwide. This waste includes heavy metals, solvents, and other hazardous materials that can contaminate soil, air, and water, leading to serious environmental and health problems. According to the Global E-waste Monitor 2020, the world generated 53.6 million metric tons of e-waste in 2019, and only 17.4% of it was recycled. It's estimated that the industry emits around 1.5 billion tons of CO2 annually, which is equivalent to the emissions of the entire aviation industry.
Moreover, electronic devices have a limited lifespan and quickly become obsolete, resulting in a significant amount of electronic waste. It is estimated that in 2021, France generated 1.8 million tons of electronic waste, with only 33% of this waste being recycled properly. Furthermore, reconditioning is more efficient and less widespread than recycling. Improper disposal of electronic waste can lead to environmental pollution and health problems.
How does reconditioning work?
Reconditioning electronic devices involves repairing or refurbishing them, so they're functional again. The process involves:
- Diagnosing the issue with the device
- Disassembling it
- Repairing or replacing any damaged components
- Cleaning all the parts
- Testing the device to ensure it is functional
- Reassembling it
- Performing a final test
During diagnosis, skilled technicians use specialized tools and equipment to identify the problem with the device. Once the issue has been identified, the technician disassembles the device, repairs or replaces damaged components, cleans all parts, and then reassembles the device. The device is then tested to ensure it is fully functional and safe to use. The process of electronic devices reconditioning helps to reduce electronic waste and is a more environmentally friendly alternative to purchasing new devices.
Reconditioning is a more climate-conscious alternative
Electronic devices reconditioning is a more climate-conscious alternative than producing new devices. Here are a couple of facts from ADEME to support this fact:
- Reconditioning a smartphone produces 40 times less greenhouse gas emissions than producing a new one.
- Reusing and reconditioning a computer can save up to 80% of the energy and resources that would be needed to produce a new one.
- By extending the lifespan of a laptop by one year through reconditioning and repair, emissions equivalent to driving 5,000 km can be avoided.
There are several factors explaining the situation. Firstly, it helps to reduce electronic waste. When electronic devices are no longer functional or become obsolete, they are often discarded and end up in landfills, which can lead to environmental pollution. Reconditioning these devices instead of discarding them can extend their useful life and reduce the amount of electronic waste produced.
Second, reconditioning devices helps to conserve natural resources. Electronic devices contain a variety of materials, including metals, plastics, and chemicals. By reusing these materials, fewer resources are needed to manufacture new devices.
Third, the manufacturing of new electronic devices contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental pollutants. By reconditioning existing devices, the demand for new devices is reduced, thereby reducing the environmental impact of manufacturing new devices.
It is important to note that 70% of reconditioned computers in France have been reconditioned in China or the US, showing there is a growing need for French-based electronic devices reconditioners.
Limits of reconditioning electronic devices
While reconditioning electronic devices is a beneficial process, it also has its limits. One of the main limits is the availability of spare parts. Some electronic devices may require specific parts that are no longer available or are difficult to find, making the repair process more challenging. In such cases, the reconditioning process may not be feasible, and the device may need to be discarded.
Another limit is the cost-effectiveness of the reconditioning process. Depending on the type of device and the extent of damage, the cost of repairing or replacing components may be more expensive than purchasing a new device. In such cases, the reconditioning process may not be a practical solution.
Additionally, the reconditioning process may not be suitable for certain types of electronic devices, such as those that are designed for single-use, like some medical devices and certain batteries.
Finally, the quality of the reconditioning process may vary depending on the skills and expertise of the technicians involved in the process. It is important to work with experienced and reputable technicians to ensure that the reconditioned device is safe to use and functions properly.
There are, apart from the financing aspect, very few limits to the reconditioning process. This main issue can be solved with the use of carbon credits that Riverse can provide.
Electronics reconditioning partners Riverse supports
Ecodair, ESUS organization dedicated for social and environmental impact through electronic devices refurbishment
Ecodair is a French reconditioning company that specializes in refurbishing electronic devices such as laptops, desktop computers, and tablets. The company was founded in 2012 and operates in the city of Rennes.
As of 2021, Ecodair has refurbished more than thousands ofdevices, saving approximately 1000 tons of electronic waste from being sent to landfill. The company has also saved more than +100MWh of energy and employed only people in tough situation, like reinsertion or disability.
Ecodair's main objective is to promote sustainable consumption by offering high-quality refurbished electronic devices as an alternative to buying new ones. The company purchases used electronic devices from individuals, companies, and organizations and then refurbishes them to a high standard using a rigorous process that includes cleaning, repair, and replacement of damaged parts.
The company promotes the reuse of electronic devices by providing a warranty of up to two years on all refurbished devices, thereby increasing their value and reducing the need to buy new devices.
Ecodair's reconditioning process also includes an environmental assessment of each device to identify and manage any potential environmental risks associated with the device. The company ensures that the reconditioning process complies with the strictest environmental standards and promotes the use of sustainable materials and practices.
Okamac, the most efficient Apple devices refurbishment project in Europe
Okamac has refurbished thousands of devices, saving approximately +1000 tons of electronic waste from being sent to landfill. The company has also saved more than +300MWh of energy and contributed to create dozens of new jobs.
Okamac's main objective is to promote sustainable consumption by offering high-quality refurbished Apple devices as an alternative to buying new ones. The company purchases used devices from individuals, companies, and organizations and then refurbishes them to a high standard using a rigorous process that includes cleaning, repair, and replacement of damaged parts.
One of Okamac's key strengths is its focus on customer satisfaction and trust. The company offers a one-year warranty on all refurbished devices, and each device is thoroughly tested to ensure it meets the highest quality standards. The company also provides personalized customer service to help customers find the right device for their needs and offers a buy-back program for devices that are no longer needed.
Okamac's reconditioning process also includes an environmental assessment of each device to identify and manage any potential environmental risks associated with the device. The company ensures that the reconditioning process complies with the strictest environmental standards and promotes the use of sustainable materials and practices.