There’s no doubt that our ever-increasing use of technology has resulted in massive amounts of e-waste.
Case in point: the UN’s Global E-waste Monitor 2020 reported that, in 2019, 53.6 million metric tons of e-waste were generated worldwide — up 21 percent from the previous five years. It’s expected that by 2030, this number will grow to 74.7 million metric tons. Truly an alarming amount of waste.
But at the same time, new innovations in technology play an important role in moving us toward greater sustainability, with the potential to:
- Increase productivity, efficiency, and cost savings
- Reduce product waste and the amount of chemicals and resources used, and
- Measure, analyze, and track progress
….all of which help minimize our impact on the environment.
Achieving sustainability goals requires innovation, and new technology is an integral part of that. Here are six ways that advances in technology can revolutionize sustainability and help individuals, businesses, and countries meet their goals.
1.) Improved Energy Efficiency
Digitally collecting and analyzing data allows businesses to be more informed about their energy usage. They can then use that information to find areas for improvement, making changes to reduce their usage and increase energy efficiency.
Insights gained from this data can also give companies a fuller picture of their overall ecological impact and help them calculate potential environmental risks.
In addition, using Internet of Things (IoT)-enabled devices can help reduce energy waste at work and at home. For instance, with smart technology you can set lights to turn off automatically with a timer or motion sensor, and air conditioning or heating units to turn off at a certain temperature. You can even shut them off remotely while you’re away using your smartphone.
2.) Streamlined Business Operations
Good data and tools enable organizations to make faster, more effective decisions and develop more streamlined ways of working. Streamlined business practices cut down on waste and pollution and reduce a company’s carbon footprint.
Digital technology can be used to:
- Optimize the use of resources to minimize environmental impact and reduce cost and waste
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- Create more efficient supply chains
- Enable innovation and collaboration
- Measure and track progress toward sustainability goals
Technology helps businesses find profitable solutions that also have a positive impact on their environmental goals. For example, curbing emissions can also yield cost savings in the form of reduced energy consumption and more efficient operations. Innovation through technology also means companies can better meet their customers’ needs and wants, therefore increasing profits.
3.) Better Risk Management
Technology enables companies to make decisions based on real-time information as well as improved predictions of future risk. With data gained through technology, businesses have the ability to predict and avoid risk, enabling them to save resources and better protect their employees and customers.
Using forecasting tools to protect against risk and strengthen risk controls, companies can plan for potential risk events and avoid wasting resources through last-minute changes or split-second reactions to crises. They are also better able to safeguard their systems to protect sensitive customer data.
4.) Predictive Machine Maintenance
Predictive machine maintenance allows machines to tell us when they need routine maintenance or other repairs, rather than keeping track of maintenance schedules ourselves (which can be inaccurate) or waiting for machines to break down to make repairs. Machines function more smoothly and efficiently when they are optimally maintained. They last longer too.
One example of this is our cars: signals like low tire pressure and maintenance lights tell us when our cars need attention, typically well before we would notice any problems. This allows us to take care of preventive maintenance before small issues cause bigger problems or inefficiencies…saving both resources and money.
5.) Moving Toward a Circular Economy
Technological innovation can also help us move toward a more circular economy.
In a circular economy, products and their components are kept in circulation as long as possible — as the original product or remade into new products — rather than tossing them in a landfill after one use. A circular economy seeks to reduce material use, redesign materials to use fewer resources, and reclaim waste as a resource to manufacture new materials and products.
In addition to keeping electronics out of landfills, a more circular process could save billions of dollars a year through reusing valuable materials that would otherwise go to waste.
6.) More and Better Recycling
Technology has helped us find new and better ways to recycle more products more efficiently. This not only helps us recycle more materials with fewer resources and less waste, it also makes recycling easier and less expensive for both individuals and businesses. And the easier it is for people to recycle, the more likely they will be to do so.
In addition, more and more items are being made from recycled components — including computers and other technology. And with right to repair legislation gaining traction, repairing and refurbishing old electronic equipment will hopefully become easier and more common.
One Sustainable Choice You Can Make Today: Buy Refurbished Electronics From Tech Discounts
Innovative technology can revolutionize sustainability and help us move to a more environmentally-friendly future. But one sustainable choice you can make today is to buy refurbished electronics rather than newly manufactured items.
At Tech Discounts, we partner with Tech Dump to refurbish and sell used computers and other electronic equipment to give them a second life. Browse our online store here or visit one of our retail locations to shop for refurbished electronics.