The amount of waste generated by electrical and electronic equipment has been one of the biggest issues facing the world in recent years. WEEE Technology, who specialise in corporate computer recycling in Central London and further afield, look at what the future is likely to hold when it comes to e-waste trends in the UK.
The Latest Facts and Figures
The UK Government has provided annual figures on the amount of electronic waste which has been collected in the UK for every year since 2007. In 2020, just over six million tonnes (6,286,016 tonnes, to be exact) of electrical waste was collected. This represented a drop of almost three million tonnes on the 2019 figure.
However, it is unclear whether this decrease is a reflection of the amount of waste which is being generated or the figure has been distorted by the coronavirus pandemic, which has made the physical collection and recording processes much more difficult. The fourth-quarter waste figures for 2020, for instance, were only added in March this year.
The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs is predicting a 1% increase in the amount of WEEE collected over the course of 2021 – but this is based on figures over a five-year period, rather than just based on the 2020 total.
The Changing Working Patterns
However, it is possible to be confident that the months ahead will see an upsurge in the amount of electronic waste which is being collected and recycled. One of the principal reasons for this is the huge increase in the number of people working from home.
According to the Office for National Statistics, in 2020 more than one in three people (35.9%) worked at home for at least part of their working week. This represented a rise of almost 10% on 2019. Other surveys suggest this trend is likely to continue; Daisy Corporate Services polled 350 businesses in November and December last year, and 85% of those taking part thought at least half their employees would continue working from home over the next 12 months.
Employees also appear to be happy to continue this trend. In a survey of 5,000 UK working adults in January and February 2021, almost four out of every five (78%) indicated they would like to continue working from home for at least part of the week. (This poll was carried out on behalf of the University of Nottingham and Stanford University by Prolific).
The Ongoing Demand to Dispose of Electronic Waste
There may well be a backlog of electronic waste because it hasn’t been convenient or feasible to collect it with all the latest restrictions. Also, a lot of businesses are considering moving their offices and downsizing, because they don’t want to spend money on space which they won’t need. With many employees working from home more regularly, the demand for large office space has fallen considerably.
A survey by Accumulate Capital of more than 500 UK business leaders in 2020 showed that almost three out of every four (73%) believe increasing numbers of UK companies will downsize over the next 12 months – and more than one in three of those surveyed (37%) will be doing so themselves.
There is also an ongoing demand for new equipment, which may be required to ensure that employees can work remotely. Many existing home computers may need to be upgraded to ensure that they are equipped and capable of running relevant business software.
How WEEE Technology Can Help
With large quantities of electronic equipment likely to end up as waste over the coming months, WEEE Technology is well placed to play its part in ensuring everything is disposed of legally and ethically.
We can collect all your business’s IT equipment, securely wiping data and providing certificates to show this has been done. We are partnered with Global Lifecycle Solutions EMEA, the UK distributor of WhiteCanyon WipeDrive. We use their software for our secure data erasure for our clients in London and elsewhere, and we also sell this software on to prospective customers who want to erase their own data.
Sending items to landfill is always a last resort, so we often sell computers on, sharing the profits with the original customers. Anything that is not resold is either dismantled and sold to precious metal refiners, scrap plastic or metal merchants, or other companies who specialise in dealing with e-waste.
Corporate Computer Disposal from WEEE Technology
If you would like to know more about any of our corporate computer disposal services in and around central London, you can complete our online quote form or call us on 020 7859 4669.