Brice Bunner
Asset Management

EV recycling is driving us toward a circular economy


Image ©: EcoFriendElectric Vehicles (EVs) have been steadily gaining popularity since the first Tesla car came on the scene. And, as we plod forward toward an exhaust-free future, it’s easy to forget that these vehicles contain some pretty nasty passengers; namely, the Lithium-Ion batteries that comprises a whopping percentage of their overall weight. Thankfully, the way they treat EV car batteries is a lot like how we treat retired IT assets. And therein lies the connection.

EV cars are close to e-waste

Automobiles are one of the most recycled of all consumer products, with the steel from their chassis often being re-forged into new cars. But even in this common product, there are still massive amounts of waste being produced. This is mostly due to the “fluff” of seating and textiles that adorn the interior of vehicles and aren’t easily reconstituted into future parts. In fact, fluff is creating its own significant stain on the planet.

Most of the recycling that is being done with vehicles, however, has been as an afterthought industry—in the same way that ITAD (IT Asset Disposition) could be construed as an afterthought of technology. When the engineers and manufacturers were first designing these products, their eventual disposition was never considered. It wasn’t until the pileup of toxic components on foreign shores that made consumers begin to look for alternatives.

Electric Vehicles, the youngster of this manufacturing scene, seems to be a welcome exception to this rule. EVs are being innovated with new materials—forming a new generation of engineers who think of reuse, rather than disposal, from the outset. This approach is right up our alley since it closely matches how we handle the IT assets we disposition at Sage.

Seeing the value beyond what’s immediately apparent—in the very elements that electronic devices are made up of—means we treat them with greater respect than just “waste.” It’s this fundamental aspect of what we do that makes Sage a thought leader in the industry. Our owner Jill and our CEO Bob were the first to implement sustainable thinking in an industry wrought with wastefulness back in the days of their first company, Redemtech. Seeing the deeper value of electronic devices is an offshoot of Sage’s sustainability DNA.

The future depends on sustainable thinking

What we see in EV battery recycling is a great start for the future of the automotive industry—one we hope will trickle into the rest of the ITAD industry as well. But we still have a long way to go before either of these products is where it ought to be with sustainability. Perhaps, finding new uses for the batteries will spark interest in locating new uses and better treatment of the other parts of these vehicles. Likewise, a solid look at the devices we use every day for our businesses, schools, and homes, will help us increase the reusable yield from our assets.

All these opportunities to make better use of the assets and resources we have come to see as commonplace is one of the best ways you can individually improve the future. Sage can help you with your IT assets, but the thinking has to go beyond just those items.

Look around you. Are there other things that you have come to think of as disposable that really have so much more to offer? It can be difficult in this culture to ignore the shiny new models, but that’s the real power of sustainability that each of us has within our own lives; to ignore the hype and extend the life of our current resources. Both in business and at home, each of us can make a real difference for the future with this simple shift in thinking. And that’s a future we can all look forward to.

About Sage

Sage Sustainable Electronics leads the market in sustainable IT asset management and disposition (ITAD) by reusing more and recycling less. Every year, businesses retire millions of used-but-still-useful technology products, creating the fastest growing business and consumer waste stream in the world. We strategically and passionately help companies reuse more and recycle less than anyone else in the industry.

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