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UK businesses facing an e-waste time bomb, as over half (52%) of British IT departments say they don’t dispose of laptops sustainably

UK businesses are facing an e-waste time bomb, as over half (52%) of British IT departments reveal they don’t have a sustainable process in place when it comes to the disposing of old IT devices, such as laptops.

This is a concern, as 72% of businesses across the UK agreed that COVID-19 had prompted their organisation to accelerate digital transformation, to future proof against crises, like the pandemic. And a third (35%) of these businesses say they 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. 74% of respondents admitted to being under pressure to become more sustainable, and 79% expressed concern about the amount of e-waste their organisation produces.

Figures from the UN reveal that e-waste, which businesses contribute to in the form of old devices such as laptops, phones, printers and more, is expected to hit 74m metric tonnes by 2030.

Commenting on the findings, Carmen Ene, CEO at 3stepIT said: “The businesses I speak to are being asked to deliver huge digital transformation projects, improve data security and deliver more value with every tech investment, all in the context of a global pandemic. But they also want to be part of the solution to one of the biggest climate crises the world is facing.

“To reduce e-waste, businesses have to stop buying IT, and look for new models of ownership. Adopting technology-as-a-service supports businesses to deploy a circular model, in which devices are bought, used, and then repaired and re-used, rather than hitting landfill after their first lifecycle.”

The survey, which gathered the views of 200 IT decisions makers at large UK businesses, also revealed:

  • Two fifths (40%) had to rapidly increase their IT estate to ensure staff were provisioned for remote working
  • 38% had to increase headcount to handle more IT service requests from remote and hybrid workers.
  • 41% face an increased security risk due to the increased number and mobility of devices
  • 23% said they have lost track of some devices due to the increased workload and number of devices being managed