No less than 2.2 billion phones, tablets and laptops were sold across the globe last year. With more people working from home, the number of devices sold continues to rise. ‘Offering take-back services to hardware users is the new normal,’ argues Dutch entrepreneur Joost de Kluijver of Closing The Loop.
The business model of the young firm, which is based in Amsterdam, centres around waste-free reuse. It collects and recycles an end-of-life device for each used device sold on the global market, as these used devices cannot be tracked and could easily escape recycling infrastructure. ‘And here’s the unique part: Closing the Loop collects electronics solely in countries that lack dedicated waste management systems,’ De Kluijver explains.
This ‘e-waste compensation’ approach has been adopted by partners across the globe, the ceo says. Closing the Loop’s network in Africa has allowed the recycling of over 3 million discarded phones since 2014. Besides, the revenue is boosting the country’s still developing recycling sector.
Eager to scale up operations and reach a new milestone, Closing the Loop has joined forces with Ingram Micro, a global leader in IT asset disposition (ITAD).
A proactive role
‘While we know the notebooks we recycle internally go through a responsible disposal process, we don’t have control over the disposal of notebooks we resell,’ comments Todd Zegers, global vice president of ITAD at Ingram Micro.
‘So, we decided to take proactive measures to compensate them. By reselling them for re-use and working with Closing the Loop, we’re not only giving the notebook computers a second or third life, we’re also ensuring an equivalent amount of electronic waste is removed from the global waste stream in the event future owners of the notebooks don’t recycle them responsibly – and the devices end up in a landfill.’
‘E-waste is often seen as a problem, but it also represents opportunities for making existing IT processes waste-neutral,’ argues De Kluijver. He stresses how important it is for firms like Ingram Micro to support a more sustainable tech industry.
A ‘solid’ service
‘As most IT buyers often have little knowledge of green IT, it’s essential to make sustainable services for IT appealing and very easy to implement,’ the businessman adds. ‘It really helps an IT manager if the current vendor integrates eco-friendly services into current processes, so the manager gets “hassle free sustainability”.’
Also, leading IT service companies such as Ingram Micro have the power to encourage OEMs to embrace circular solutions. ‘Because they can turn waste reduction into a service,’ De Kluijver says. ‘A solid service that’s both widely available and a no-brainer. This means sustainable usage of IT hardware becomes available to anyone.’