The ITAD Report

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Ecolabels and data sanitisation key to recycling and reusing IT assets


The need to provide remote workers with replacement technology caused a massive spike in demand for equipment, according to Fredrik Forslund, director of the International Data Sanitisation Consortium (IDSC). “All second-hand gear sold out, the whole industry globally saw every inventory selling out, and the demand was sky high and could not be met by the second-hand market or the first-hand market” he says, adding that the flood of replacement hardware means there is going to be “an enormous amount of infrastructure” that will need to be recycled or re-used.

To safely redeploy equipment, enterprises must first ensure that all data held on the device is irrevocably wiped. For recycling specifically, organisations also need to know what materials are in the device so that it can be approached safely, as many rare earth metals used in electronics can produce toxic waste if not dealt with correctly. One solution that has been on the rise is “ecolabels” which, similar to how ingredients are listed on food packaging, lets enterprises know exactly what materials their equipment contains.

“We know exactly what’s inside of food because that has been in demand in the market for a long time,” says Forslund. “But the same thing is starting to be visible in the IT industry where you have to show that: ‘This product contains the following materials, we stand behind the following production processes, we have been thinking about recycling and next steps, and we know this system can be sanitised and reused.’”

He adds that, on a consumer level, “we have started demanding organic and correctly produced foods [from the food industry], and I think you’ll see the same pattern in everything that we’re consuming – it’s happening in the fashion industry and it’s starting to evolve in the IT industry.”

Read more here

Insights from Inrego’s CEO Christoffer Sandell:

As the article states that the demand spike was enormous, probably we are already seeing this as the prices on re-used is diving down to the normal levels, as we had before entering the pandemic. Which creates a difficult global ITAD market. Many companies selling re-used to end users are struggling with having stocks with too high prices, which forces the ITAD industry to quickly sell out their stocks right now.

Image source: Computerweekly

Google, Microsoft and Dell join in new alliance for circular electronics


Dell Technologies, Cisco, Google and Microsoft are among the leading tech and electronics firms that have recently joined forces to develop a circular economy for electronics by 2030. The Circular Electronics Partnership (CEP) brings together businesses, experts and policymakers to explore ways to cut down on e-waste across all stages of the electronics life cycle, from design to recycling.

In one notable case last year, Apple agreed to pay a USD 113 million settlement after admitting that it deliberately slowed down older iPhone models, prompting many users to buy new devices instead. Likewise, many manufacturers knowingly make their products difficult to repair, such as by limiting the availability of spare parts or prohibiting people from fixing their own devices.

These practices are now banned in the E.U. and the U.K. The new European legislation is an important step toward what’s known as the circular economy: an alternative economic model that reduces waste and pollution by design and keeps products and materials in use for as long as possible.

At the end-of-life stage, the CEP will support refurbishment, remanufacturing and recycling efforts by creating a global system for manufacturer take-back, developing reverse supply chains and scaling up markets for recycled materials.

Read more here

Image source: Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Global shortage in computer chips 'reaches crisis point'


Consumers are facing price rises and shortages of products like TVs and mobile phones as a global shortage in semiconductors grows. The shortage in chips, the “brain” within every electronic device in the world, has been steadily worsening since last year. Initially the problem was only a temporary delay in supplies as factories shut down when the coronavirus pandemic first hit. However, although production is back to normal, a new surge in demand driven by changing habits fuelled by the pandemic means that it is now reaching crisis point.

Apple, a $2tn company and the world’s biggest buyer of semiconductors spending $58bn annually, was forced to delay the launch of the much-hyped iPhone 12 by two months last year due to the shortage.

However, the most telling example of the semiconductor crisis has come from Samsung, the world’s second-largest buyer of chips for its products after Apple. The company said it might have to postpone the launch of its high-end smartphone due to the shortage, despite also being the world’s second-largest producer of chips.

The chip shortage looks set to persist for some time yet. It can take up to two years to get complex semiconductor production factories up and running, and manufacturers are in the process of significantly raising prices for the second time in less than a year. “There is no sign of supply catching up, or demand decreasing, while prices are rising across the chain,” says Campling. “This will cross over to people in the street. Expect cars to cost more, phones to cost more. This year’s iPhone is not going to be cheaper than last year.”

Read more here

Insights from Inrego’s CEO:

“As the article mentions there is, due to the shortage on components, a delay on new IT shipments such as laptops and phones to companies around the globe. This creates further delays in the buyback market as it needs new equipment before there can be a shift from the used one. And the question many people in the ITAD industry is asking themselves; will this temporary make the prices go up again? The answer to this nobody knows, but it is for sure an uncertain market on used IT equipment right now and a lot of re-sellers of used IT needs more products at reasonable prices.” -Christoffer Sandell, CEO, Inrego Global

Image source: Krystian Nawrocki/Getty Images

Microsoft hits 84% asset reuse rate in data centers


A year after establishing a handful of guiding sustainability targets, Microsoft published a progress report that touched on the company’s move to increase reuse at its data centers.

Microsoft has plans to significantly expand its data center footprint beyond the current 3 million servers and related hardware.

“But we must do this with our sustainability goals in mind, and that is more than just reducing the power they consume,” Microsoft wrote. “Today, these servers have an average lifespan of five years. To better manage this waste stream, Microsoft is increasing control and innovating to create closed loop models.”

The company last year announced a project to create “Circular Centers,” facilities that will be co-located with each new data center. These facilities are designed to optimize data center asset reuse, by analyzing and improving asset retirement schedules and other metrics.

“The Circular Centers will contribute to and increase our reuse of servers and components up to 90% by 2025,” Microsoft wrote. In the 2020 fiscal year, the company hit an 84% reuse rate across its data centers, up from 74% in 2019.

Image credit: Ritu Manoj Jethani/Shutterstock