European E-waste Crisis: Tech Wastage Piles High as Research Reveals Two-thirds of Businesses Lack a Sustainable Strategy to Dispose of Used and Defunct IT Devices

E-waste Crisis
  • 65% of European businesses do not have an environmentally sustainable process in place when it comes to disposing of IT devices.
  • This is despite 74% of respondents saying they are under pressure to become more sustainable.
  • A third (33%) had to rapidly increase their IT estate to enable more remote working, and a quarter (26%) say they have more laptops that need to be disposed of.

00:01AM 1st September 2021E-waste is expected to hit a massive 74m metric tonnes by 2030, and new research suggests European businesses and enterprises could be contributing to the problem. 

In a new study by 3stepIT, one of Europe’s leading technology lifecycle management providers, almost two-thirds of UK and European IT decision makers (65%) say they do not have an environmentally sustainable process in place when it comes to disposing of IT devices.  

This is concerning, as 70% of businesses across the UK and mainland Europe confirmed that COVID-19 had prompted their organisation to accelerate digital transformation, to future proof against crises, like the pandemic. As a result, a quarter (26%) of these businesses now have more laptops that need to be disposed of.

This hints at a tidal wave of redundant IT potentially set to hit landfill, despite increasing pressure to act on climate change. There are growing calls for the business community to lead the way with sustainable solutions, accelerated by the recent IPCC report. 74% of respondents said they are now under pressure to become more sustainable.

Encouragingly, three-quarters (74%) of European businesses are concerned about the amount of e-waste they produce. A third (31%) also expect more pressure in the future to manage their business technology sustainably. .

Commenting on the findings, Carmen Ene, CEO at 3stepIT said: “There has never been a more critical point for businesses to ramp up action on sustainability. Yet too often valuable technology is needlessly ending up in landfill.

“To truly tackle climate change we need a change in attitude about how we buy, own and consume technology. This means looking at new models of ownership that drive down the cost to the environment and to business. The argument for a more circular model, in which devices are bought, used, and then repaired and re-used has never been stronger.”

Further business IT challenges

As well as the need to be sustainable, the research shows businesses are also facing other challenges within their IT departments post-pandemic. 

While budgets have increased – a quarter of IT buyers (26%) saw budgets increase by 15-29%, and another quarter (25%) saw an increase of between 1-14% – so too has the pressure to prove the returns on this investment. 

Three quarters (74%) of IT decision makers agreed that they are under increasing pressure to showcase the ROI of their purchasing decisions. 

At the same time,  security and trackability of IT devices is a growing challenge, following the advent of hybrid and remote working:

  • A third (30%) of organisations have faced an increased security risk due to the greater number and mobility of devices now being managed. 
  • A quarter (25%) admitted to losing track of some devices due to the increased workload and number of devices being managed.

As a result, three quarters of survey respondents (75%) are interested in financial solutions that deliver a lower total cost of ownership vs their current approach.

Ene continues: “The pandemic has created one of the most challenging business environments in our history – organisations are being asked to deliver huge digital transformation projects, improve security measures and deliver more business value with every investment, all while operating sustainably. Traditional models of cash ownership are no longer fit for purpose, and the leading companies are instead moving towards technology as-a-service to ensure they can prove ROI, grow performance and answer critical sustainability goals.”

About the research

The research was conducted in July 2021 by OnePoll on behalf of 3StepIT and surveyed 1000 IT decision makers (200 from each territory) from the UK, France, Germany, Sweden and Finland.


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