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How Refurbished Electronics are Contributing to a Greener Canada

How Refurbished Electronics are Contributing to a Greener Canada

Building a sustainable future is a widespread focus in Canada and the world overall. We’ve begun seeing the effects of climate change, prompting governments, businesses, and individuals to explore eco-friendly ways to minimize their impact.

Prioritizing sustainable electronic devices is one way everyone can help make a positive impact on the environment. That term might sometimes mean devices designed to consume less power.

However, that’s not the only way consumers and businesses can reduce their environmental impact — green computing initiatives are another powerful way to help create a greener planet.

These initiatives involve prioritizing efficient refurbishment and responsible e-waste recycling practices that encourage responsible use of technology. We don’t always need brand-new devices, and we should never throw out old devices along with other trash.

So let’s explore how refurbished, eco-friendly electronics in Canada are changing the entire electronics industry and helping shape a greener future.

Reshaping Canada with Refurbished Electronics

Relying solely on factory-fresh devices requires consuming a significant amount of raw materials and energy. Refurbished laptops, desktops, and mobile devices are a viable alternative to the environmental strain of brand-new devices.

Consumers and businesses who opt for green technology solutions, including buying refurbished electronics when possible, are doing their part to build a greener future for Canada and the world overall. Let’s break down a few ways refurbished tech contributes to this goal.

Minimizes Reliance on New Materials and Plastics

Every piece of tech requires a significant amount of energy and resources throughout the supply chain. Let’s quickly take a high-level view of how a new laptop is manufactured:

  1. New raw materials, such as copper, gold, and palladium, must be mined and refined. New plastic must be manufactured for specific components as well.
  2. Once refined, these materials must be transported to the component manufacturers to produce the RAM, hard drives, CPUs, and other specific components found in laptops and desktops.
  3. Individual components are then shipped to the laptop or desktop manufacturer to be assembled into a factory-new laptop. Transporting the consumer-ready device to retail stores or directly to the consumer creates additional pollution.

The entire process consumes energy, water, and resources throughout the supply chain, all contributing to the final carbon footprint of the piece of tech you purchase.

Rather than putting more strain on the environment to produce a new laptop, refurbished desktops, and laptops will perform as expected with minimal additional energy and resource consumption.

Reduces Air and Water Pollution

The overall process we explored above involves a significant amount of water and air pollution. Mining and refining raw minerals includes water usage that may affect the local environment, while the energy at every step of the process contributes to air pollution.

Refurbished technology sidesteps this entire process, instead extending the benefits of the original resources consumed when first manufacturing the device. You’ll make use of the air and water pollution that has already occurred when the device was initially manufactured.

Is there any new pollution from a refurbished device? Shipping or transportation may create new pollution, as will adding any specific new components to replace defective ones. Generally, while refurbishing a device will involve a small amount of emissions, it is a significant net positive compared to buying a brand-new device.

Reduced Demand for New Tech

Supply and demand drive any market, and your purchase decisions affect demand. Choosing to buy a brand-new device contributes to the demand for new devices, prompting manufacturing and resource extraction companies to increase production.

Conversely, choosing refurbished electronics Canada reduces the demand for brand-new devices, instead contributing to the refurbished market. As a result, the refurbishment market grows, fewer devices end up in landfills, and less demand for brand-new tech reduces environmental strain.

Buying refurbished laptops in Canada contributes to greater demand for refurbished tech. Refurbishers can then source more used computers, hire new technicians to repair them, and increase the availability of eco-friendly electronics in Canada.

Generates Less E-Waste

E-waste is a major environmental problem due to the toxic substances it can release. By refurbishing and reusing electronics, fewer devices end up in landfills, reducing the leaching of hazardous substances into the earth and bodies of water.

Most countries understand the negative effects of e-waste and have placed some restrictions on throwing out electronics along with any other trash and recycling methods. However, enforcing these regulations can be challenging, making it important for consumers and businesses to do their part by properly recycling e-waste and supporting the refurbished market.

Electronic waste reduction and recycling prevent these toxic materials from affecting the environment by reclaiming them during recycling or repairing them to extend their lifespan.

Cut Your Carbon Footprint

Individuals and businesses can reduce their carbon footprint by prioritizing refurbishment whenever possible. Many of the specific aspects we explored above contribute to minimizing the environmental effects of your next laptop or desktop when choosing refurbished tech.

One of the appealing benefits of refurbished electronics for businesses is the reduction of their carbon footprint. By prioritizing refurbished electronics, businesses can demonstrate their commitment to the environment. Carbon footprint reduction can be a significant competitive advantage depending on the size of your business and industry.

Additionally, beyond cutting your own carbon footprint, you’ll contribute to the growth of an industry that helps other individuals and businesses make eco-friendly decisions. Creating a greener Canada requires these markets to thrive, so opting for refurbished devices helps you do your part.

Standards and Certifications Are Moving Refurbished Tech Forward

The refurbishment sector has evolved significantly in recent years as more attention has been paid to climate change and how our consumption decisions can have a harmful impact on the environment.

We’ve explored a few ways refurbishment addresses the issue of building a greener Canada, but refurbishers aren’t alone. There are several related standards and certifications focusing on responsible technology usage. Let’s explore a few of these driving forces.

R2 (Responsible Recycling)

R2 (Responsible Recycling) certification is recognized internationally and is relevant to Canadian companies involved in refurbishing and recycling electronics. While originally focused on the United States, the standards and certifications have spread internationally to ensure a high quality of recyclers.

How does this relate to refurbished tech? Sometimes refurbishers have waste, whether it’s a dead component, battery, or device. Refurbishes might be R2-certified themselves to process this waste, but typically, they’ll have agreements with R2-certified recycling companies.

Having an eco-friendly method for disposing of e-waste, including reclaiming precious metals and other valuable resources, goes hand-in-hand with refurbishment — if you can’t reuse, it’s time to recycle.

Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA)

Canadian refurbishers often follow strict data destruction and privacy standards, such as those outlined by the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA). The goal of these standards is to ensure that all previous data is securely erased before resale.

Refurbishers who abide by these practices are also able to acquire computers from businesses or schools without the risk of data leaks, as their commitment to PIPEDA demonstrates all hard drives will be securely wiped before resale.

This overall practice is one more way the refurbishment industry is thriving. It builds consumer trust, which in turn contributes to more businesses and individuals choosing refurbished over brand new.

Electronics Product Stewardship Canada (EPSC)

EPSC plays a significant role in promoting responsible environmental ownership of electronic products, including refurbished ones. By advocating for and implementing product stewardship programs, EPSC helps ensure that electronics are refurbished, reused, and recycled in a manner that protects the environment and conserves resources.

The program takes a high-level approach to building a sustainable approach to the electronics industry, including manufacturing new computers to effectively recycle e-waste. EPSC also promotes refurbished products to help organizations and individuals have more eco-friendly choices.

Canadian Standards Association (CSA)

The CSA develops standards and certification programs that can apply to the refurbishment of electronics. These standards ensure that products meet specific safety, performance, and environmental criteria. For refurbished electronics, adherence to CSA standards can provide a level of assurance to consumers about the product's quality and reliability.

Certified refurbished electronics encourage businesses and consumers to consider refurbished options when it's time to replace existing devices. CSA builds trust in the entire process to promote the refurbishment industry.

Prioritize Refurbished Tech for Your Next Computer

Refurbished electronics are one component of an overarching mission to create a greener Canada. Refurbishers restore previously-owned electronics to like-new condition to give consumers another option beyond creating more demand for new tech.

Additionally, refurbishers help ensure any end-of-life components or devices are properly recycled to help reclaim valuable materials and keep their toxicity out of landfills.

Refurb.io is one of the leading refurbishers in Canada. Our refurbishment process ensures that you receive a device that has been thoroughly tested and repaired before it's made available for sale. We also take great pride in responsibly recycling e-waste whenever necessary.

Are you ready to make a greener choice for your next tech replacement? Browse refurbished electronics from Refurb to help keep e-waste out of our landfills.

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