Australian businesses are sitting on an untapped goldmine of old tech

Matt Codrington, Managing Director, ANZ at Lenovo

Lenovo released findings from a new research report, ‘Rethinking E-waste in a Circular Economy,’ showing that only half (50%) of senior IT business leaders say they are very aware of the potential economic value that resides in their organisations’ electronic waste.

Lenovo’s new research shows that despite the majority (75%) of IT business leaders surveyed saying their organisation measures and tracks the amount of e-waste they create annually, there is a gap in understanding how to maximise the value in e-waste – for example by selling it to a business to recycle and salvage reusable components and metals.

How is Lenovo leading the charge against e-waste?

Meanwhile, according to the Global E-waste Monitor, high-value recoverable materials, such as gold, conservatively valued at $57bn, are currently being lost to landfill and incinerators.

To bring awareness to the potential value of e-waste and the power of the circular economy, Lenovo today is introducing a collaboration with Holly Ryan, Australian sustainable jeweller and founder of her eponymous label Holly Ryan. Through this initiative, Holly Ryan has created an exclusive range of rings made from metals from recycled e-waste.

‘Lenovo Precious Metals’ is a set of four unique, one-off designer rings made from metals retrieved from e-waste – gold, silver and platinum – breathing new life into old tech.

The ‘Rethinking E-waste in a Circular Economy’ report also found e-waste is a missed opportunity organisations could be capitalising on from a people perspective – almost nine in ten (88%) employees say awareness of their employer’s actions to dispose of end-of-life technology in a sustainable way would make them feel more positive towards their employer.

Lenovo will award the rings to staff volunteering in the community as a token of recognition and to raise money by auctioning off the rings to support other philanthropic initiatives.

What were the stakeholders’ thoughts on e-waste?

“Transitioning to a circular economy has never been more critical. We must continue finding ways to decouple growth from consumption. At Lenovo, we are committed to lessening our impact on our planet and to reduce, reuse, and recycle wherever possible. One area we’re focused on is e-waste management,” said Matt Codrington, Managing Director, Lenovo ANZ.

“By 2025, Lenovo will have enabled the recycling and reuse of 362 million kilograms of end-of-life products and 76% of PC parts returned to our service centre will be repaired for future use. One way in which we do this is through our Asset Recovery Services, which help businesses get the most out of their end-of-life hardware,” continued Matt Codrington.

“I’m deeply passionate about sustainability and have built my business sourcing recycled metals and stones for my designs, which is why I was so excited to find a partner in Lenovo to create these one-off pieces with. The “Precious Metals” range – symbolic of the power of the circular economy – takes ethical jewellery making to the next level,” said Holly Ryan.

“I encourage all companies to be cognisant of what assets they may have within their business that can be recycled or upcycled and to put circular processes in place.”

“Since the beginning of this fiscal year, we have already seen a 43% YoY increase in the number of customers using Lenovo’s Asset Recovery Services. It is fantastic to witness so many of our customers rethinking the lifecycle of technology products, ensuring that every recoverable material from every single device can be reused at end of life,” said Codrington.

What were the findings of Lenovo’s research?

Key research findings:

  • Lack of awareness of business value of e-waste: 50% of senior IT business leaders said that they are ‘very aware’ of the potential economic value of their organisation’s e-waste, while 39% are only somewhat aware and 9% said they don’t even consider it.
  • Disposing of e-waste in a sustainable way to attract and retain talent: Almost 9 in 10 (88%) employees say awareness of their employer’s actions to dispose of end-of-life tech in a sustainable way would make them feel more positive towards their employer.

Seven in ten (70%) Australian workers agree that knowing that an employer disposes of their old technology in a sustainable way will make them more likely to want to work for them, with 31% strongly agreeing with this sentiment.

  • More e-waste action needed: Just four in 10 (39%) senior IT business leaders say their organisation places a high priority on ESG issues. Despite high levels of awareness of IT hardware recycling services (96%), more than one in three (35%) surveyed would not know how to go about using these services (31%) or do not know that they exist (4%).
  • Taking a circular approach to e-waste is critical: 59% of senior IT business leaders surveyed reported that their firm increased the amount of hardware they purchased for staff to use during the pandemic and overall purchases went up by 7.3% on average.

To find out more about Lenovo’s Asset Recovery Services, and to see how Lenovo will soon be bringing unwanted technology to life in other unexpected ways, please visit the website.