The ITAD Report

Welcome to the internets #1 monthly report on everything ITAD. Follow the developments of ITAD in society, the world and at Inrego.

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Second hand saves CO2


The total trade on the dominating market for second hand products in Sweden,, is estimated to have saved 800 000 tons CO2 during 2019. This is equivalent to the CO2-production from Stockholm’s total road traffic during the same period.

Electric car batteries - a problem


The environmental effects of producing lithium-ion batteries have improved, but we still have a long way to go. And the electric car revolution poses a gigantic problem.

With the number of electric cars expected to explode, there will be many problems with producing and taking care of large car batteries with as environmentally safe as possible. This problem  is addressed in a new report from Swedish Environmental Research Institute, IVL.

– The number of electric cars is expected to increase rapidly in the years to come. If we are to reduce climate impact, battery production must be energy efficient and utilize as little fossil electricity as possible, says Lisbeth Dahllöf, researcher at IVL.

Improved battery production

There’s been a positive development in the production of lithium-ion batteries. The report show that production on average emits somewhere between 61-106 kilos of carbon dioxide per kilowatt-hour battery capacity produced. This estimate is a significant decrease compared to the 150-200 kilos of carbon dioxide per kWh only two years ago.

– Battery factories have been scaled up and are running at full capacity, which makes them more efficient per unit produced, says Erik Emilsson, researcher at IVL.

In Europe cobalt, nickel and copper are currently recycled from old batteries with relatively high efficiency. In contrast there is little large-scale recycling of lithium due to high recycling costs and relatively low raw material prices.

New life for bus batteries

But before the large batteries are finally recycled, it’s a great thing to put them to work as much as possible. A fine exampel is a project in Sweden, where retired batteries from Volvo buses are put to use in houses.

– Connecting solar cells with second hand batteries is a way for us to push the development, says Agneta Kores, CEO Stena Fastigheter Göteborg.

The old bus batteries are simply powered with energy from solar cells mounted on the roof of housing buildings in Gothenburg. Then, the batteries are used to provide the area with electricity.

Hazardous waste export now banned in Europe


In December 2019 the world saw a big breakthrough in the work to stop illegal exports of e-scrap and other kinds of hazardous waste.

Remember December 5, 2019. It was the day when exporting hazardous waste became illegal in Europe. Formally, it is an amendment (Article 4a) to the so called Basel Convention, already ratified by as many as 98 countries, including all member states of the European Union, OECD and Liechtenstein.

“The Ban Amendment is the world’s foremost legal landmark for global environmental justice. It boldly legislates against a free-trade in environmental costs and harm,” said Jim Puckett at the Basel Action Network (BAN).

The Basel Convention’s ban on exporting hazardous waste is still to be ratified by many larger countries, like the United States, Russia and India. Still, it is an important milestone in the work to stop rich countries from dumping their waste on poor countries. And almost one hundred countries have signed it already.

More and more countries say “no thanks”

It is also reported that Kenya, in West Africa, is planning a ban on imports of used electronics, starting in 2020. According to a government official the import prohibition is part of upcoming extended producer responsibility regulations in the country.

But banning the trade is not always enough, since it is so profitable. Thailand, for example, banned the import of foreign e-waste already in 2018. Yet new factories are opening across the country, where many tons of e-waste are processed.

The conditions under which old computers are recycled in Thailand are documented in a recent feature for New York Times.

“Crouched on the ground in a dimly lit factory, the women picked through the discarded innards of the modern world: batteries, circuit boards and bundles of wires.”

The text describes workers breaking the scrap with hammers and raw hands.

“As they toiled, smoke spewed over nearby villages and farms. Residents have no idea what is in the smoke: plastic, metal, who knows? All they know is that it stinks and they feel sick.”

ITAD and e-waste - 4 important differences


Many times, the terms ITAD and e-waste are mixed up. It’s frustrating, but hopefully this article will help you explain.

1 Use again? Or throw away?
The purpose of ITAD is to give electronic equipment a second life. At Inrego, for example, 93,4% of the IT assets that come to our facility are redeployed. E-waste, on the other hand, is about crushing or shredding, sending profitable assets and many rare metals up the chimney.

2 Can you trust e-waste management?
If you send IT equipment to a recycler where it will be smashed or shredded, are they providing documentation of all data contained on that IT equipment is wiped? A trusted ITAD partner, will provide all the required documentation to make you sleep well at night.

3 The question of value
Your company or organisation is eager to make the best of it’s resources. So why throw away resources that still carry a value? If the plan is to replace IT equipment after, say, three years - then why not sell the old units, through an ITAD partner, and make some more money out of it?

4 Energy
An e-waste recycling plant is noisy, dirty, and extremely power consuming. ITAD isn’t even close. ITAD facilities use approximately one tenth as much power.

Nevertheless, many companies still prefer recycling, out of old habits. This is really sad. The difference between what is being recycled and what should be recycled is huge. In 2016, Global E-Waste Monitor estimated the total value of all raw materials in e-waste was estimated at 55 Billion Euros. In short: ITAD is the idea to reuse IT equipment as long as possible, but e-waste is simply throwing it away.