BT and Cisco help businesses recycle old IT equipment

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BT has launched a new recycling service that it says will help its global business customers responsibly dispose of end-of-life equipment and help the wider industry tackle the growing issue of e-waste.

As part of the programme, customers will be able to ship replaced or decommissioned equipment to Cisco, and it is hoped that 99.9% of kit can be re-used or recycled.

BT has enlisted the support of environmental specialists in the UK, US, Italy, Ireland, and Switzerland and will add further countries before the end of the year.

Green IT

“E-waste is a growing concern and according to WEF now the fastest-growing waste stream in the world. Our customers and partners have made commitments to report on and improve performance in this critical area,” said Hriday Ravindranath, chief product & digital officer at BT’s Global unit.

“Creating a more sustainable, circular economy, where we prioritise dematerialisation and avoid equipment going to landfill, is vital. It builds on our leadership in sustainability and will help deliver on our BT Group Manifesto commitments and ambition to connect for good.”

The World Economic Forum (WEF) says 57.4 million tonnes of e-waste was created in 2021 with only 20% recycled. Without action, it warns that this could figure could reach 120 million tonnes each year, harming the environment and increasing the overall emissions of the IT industry.

BT already offers a smartphone recycling service for consumers in a bid to make it easy as possible to contribute to the circular economy and potentially earn money off new devices. In addition to contributing to the problem of e-waste, each new device manufactured  generates carbon emissions across the supply chain and requires the mining of precious metals.

If older handsets aren’t resold, recycled, or are disposed of irresponsibly, then emissions will rise, waste will increase, and hazardous materials could be released into the environment.

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.