Reuse or Recycling – Which is better?
Most people don’t know that reusing an electronic item is far better than recycling it if you have the choice. Why is that?
Well first, let’s explain the difference as some people think they are the same. When we say recycle, we mean physically destroying the item and processing it down to its raw materials. Then we take those raw materials and use them to remanufacture something new. When we say reuse, we mean taking an item and putting it back into use by refurbishing it or repairing it.
So which method has the least amount of environmental impact? Reusing the item has the least amount of environmental impact. This is mostly because of the amount of energy that is needed to process and refine the item into raw materials. A second carbon output takes place as well, a new unit must be manufactured to replace the recycled unit. Simply put, if you recycle a computer you’re probably going to purchase a new one to replace it.
So reusing the item has the least amount of environmental impact, but is it always possible to do that? Sadly it’s not. Computers, printers and cell phones are changing at an ever increasing rate. We are always looking for faster, easier and better when it comes to electronics. In conjunction with the speed of replacement, electronics continue to get cheaper. This creates less demand on the secondary market for used and refurbished electronics. The downward trend in price also makes it less desirable to repair or service malfunctioning units.
Our goal at Securis is to recycle electronics. However, a primary goal is to reduce the overall carbon footprint. While not always possible because of customer demand for complete destruction or because of the outdated technology, we strive to reuse electronics where possible instead of recycling them.