A division of Ingram Micro, the world’s largest distributor of computing and technology products, Lifecycle became a natural extension to address a growing need. Technology is intertwined with our lives and the volume of hardware in existence is growing. At the start of 2021, there were 4.66 billion active internet users globally – this adds unsustainable pressure on the economy and the environment. Ingram Micro Lifecycle addresses this by enabling a circular economy for their customers.
What is a circular economy?
A circular economy takes a commodity that would typically be replaced and instead works to prolong its lifecycle, retaining value and use for longer, postponing the refresh point when a replacement is needed.
This is the alternative to the common linear economy, where resources are taken from the earth for manufacturing or energy, and ultimately end up as waste.
For Ingram Micro Lifecycle, data-bearing devices and consumer electronics are processed through the services we offer, extending the useful life of the device where possible, and recovering value.
Ingram Micro Lifecycle's role
These services fit into three key processes: reuse, resell, and recycle. In the first instance, we will compliantly wipe all devices of data, where relevant. Ingram Micro Lifecycle can provide an uplift of your devices, wherever they are – be it in an office or with a remote worker.
Assessment is conducted to ascertain the condition of the devices and their potential value. Devices that are to be reused or resold will undergo a repair and refurbishment programme. The battery life and cosmetics will be restored, along with any components that need replacing.
Reuse – once restored to good working order, the device can be redeployed among your staff and taken back out into the field.
Resell – instead of reusing the repaired devices, we can sell on your behalf through our network of trusted third-party resellers to get a direct financial return.
Recycle – where the device cannot be restored, it will be broken down into salvageable components for either reuse in the restoration of other devices or recycled. Any residual waste will be processed in compliance with e-waste regulations.
What is e-waste? E-waste is an object that houses a battery or has a plug that has been discarded. This electronic waste is toxic or hazardous to the environment if left to decay and break down. The Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment (WEEE) Forum expects that by 2030, 74 million tonnes of e-waste will have been produced globally – that’s equivalent to the weight of 7,326 Eiffel Towers.
The benefits of a circular economy
1. CUTTING CARBON EMISSIONS
Consider the production levels required to manufacture a new device and the logistics behind it to get all the componentry together and shipped out to the end user.
The World Economic Forum (WEF) reported that manufacturing technology contributed to over half of the world’s CO2 emissions.
By extending the lifecycle of technology when it becomes obsolete, the amount of new technology required and therefore production will decrease, cutting carbon emissions.
The Shift Project estimates that it takes 80 times more energy to produce 1g of smartphone than 1g of car.
2. REDUCING TOXIC WASTE
A lot of e-waste is processed incorrectly, by open-air burning, through acid baths, and via personal handling of contaminants. This releases harmful substances such as lead, mercury, arsenic, and brominated flame retardants (BFRs). Sustained human contact with these can cause neurological damage and cancer, and CO2 is released into the atmosphere.
According to PACE (Partnership for Action on Computing Equipment), e-waste makes up 2% of overall solid waste, which is equivalent to 70% of total hazardous waste.
Extending the lifecycle of devices will ease the pressures on e-waste processing facilities, remove the burden of informally handling it, and encourage recycling or safe destruction. Salvaging parts of truly obsolete technologies and reusing them to extend the life of other devices will also decrease the number of materials going to waste.
Manufacturing puts a strain on natural resources. With finite resources diminishing, harvesting reusable parts of obsolete technologies will ease some of this pressure. For example, due to the refining process, the precious metals found in printed circuit boards (PCBs) are 10 times more abundant than in the natural ores they were mined from.
The WEF reported in 2019 that over 92 billion tonnes of materials had been extracted and processed by the whole manufacturing industry.
Recycling tech allows some valuable raw materials such as indium, cobalt, and neodymium to be harnessed – these would otherwise be lost through e-waste and sourcing the raw replacements would add to GHG.
Ingram Micro Lifecycle will produce data demonstrating carbon emissions reductions and materials recycled/ reused for inclusion within Board or company reports, enabling businesses to meet their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) targets.
4. VALUE RETURN
With the environmental and economic benefits of extending the lifecycle of devices, there’s a huge opportunity in securely wiping devices that are perceived as obsolete to assess for value.
Going through the repair and refurbish process will restore the condition of the device and increase its value, making it suitable for resale, thus recovering more value.
Waste Aid reported that in 2023 the value of the recommerce market is expected to increase to $51 billion.
The value Ingram Micro Lifecycle obtained from reselling technology can be used by you to funnel back into other business functions or bolster the data security budget. Alternatively, you could consider donating this to a charity.
5. REDUCING DOWNTIME
Businesses can maintain a stock of refurbished devices to ensure that an immediate replacement can be sent to business employees while the faulty device is swapped and returned for screening and repair at the same time. This is an ideal solution for both on-site and remote workers. As the stock is already on-hand, there are limited delays in having to source the replacement or while the device is repaired.
6. CONFIGURED AND UPDATED
We will ensure that the operating system is up-to-date and that the device is running the latest software before being shipped back out for re-use. We can also configure devices to a list of your prerequisites, including installing required apps/software and blocking specified web addresses.
Ingram Micro Lifecycle can provide warehousing for your assets. Our bespoke inventory tracking system, BlueIQ, enables enterprises to see a list of devices and request assets to be issued to employees. Alternatively, devices can be sent to your own facilities when they’ve been issued a Blancco security report guaranteeing they’ve been cleared of data. Our software is designed to fully integrate with ServiceNow, giving you one log-in for all features and full transparency on historic and current devices.
The European Commission estimated that a circular economy could save the European Union around EUR600 billion. The concept can be applied to many industries, not just technology.
Ingram Micro Lifecycle has the infrastructure and agility to enable enterprises to adopt a circular economy approach within their IT estate. Get in touch with us today to discuss your device usage and how we can return value and save costs while making your company more sustainable.