The tech industry has faced growing criticism in recent years over its environmental impact. From energy-hungry data centers to devices designed for planned obsolescence, our gadget-filled world often comes at a high cost to the planet. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, about 54 million metric tonnes of phones, computers, and other e-waste is generated in a year which is equal to 7 kilograms per individual. However, there are signs that both tech companies and consumers are starting to make more eco-conscious choices. One area seeing rapid growth? The market for refurbished electronics.
What Is Refurbished Tech?
Refurbished or “reconditioned” devices are pre-owned gadgets that have been tested, repaired, and cleaned to work like new ones. Whereas used goods may be untested and sold “as is,” refurbs undergo thorough inspection and restoration before sale. Anything broken is fixed or replaced, the device is cleaned, data is securely wiped, and the item gets new packaging. The end result is a phone, laptop, tablet, or other product that functions just as well as a brand-new version, just at a discounted price.
The Rise of Refurbished
While buying used and refurbished electronics, especially refurbished desktops and laptops has always had devotees, it’s increasingly appealing to the average consumer – and for good reason. Refurbished tech costs 20 to 50 percent less on average than brand-new items, allowing customers on a budget to still enjoy the latest cutting-edge gadgets. Plus, refurbished electronics keep usable tech in circulation and out of landfills. With mounting concerns over e-waste and climate change, many shoppers feel better buying refurbished from an environmental perspective. The eco-friendly tech solutions are driving a great positive change in the direction of ecosystem sustainability.
The refurbished tech market size also expands each year in response to demand. In 2022, refurbished smartphone sales alone were worth $65 billion globally. Major retailers and reputed refurbished product providers now have dedicated refurbished departments online boasting discounted prices on popular items like iPads, gaming consoles, laptops, desktops, and more.
Meanwhile, tech giants like HP, Apple, and Dell have their products available through reputed refurbished product providers, rigorously inspecting and certifying devices before reselling them at lower costs. This boosts consumer confidence in buying refurbished. Apple says refurb iPhones and iPads come with the same one-year warranty as brand-new models.
Greening Up Business
Companies small and large can implement refurbished technology to make operations more eco-friendly and affordable. Here are some impactful ways businesses are utilizing refurbs:
1. Cutting Hardware Waste
Rather than junking older computers and laptops as they age, businesses can trade them in to be refurbished laptops and computers, keeping them in use longer. Firms can then buy back discounted refurbished replacements as needed, reducing e-waste.
2. Saving on Tech Purchases
Refurbished electronics cost much less upfront than new, enabling companies to save on IT equipment and more employees with PCs, phones, tablets, and more without overspending. Startups can bootstrap with refurb tech. Established businesses convert costs to profit. It’s a money saver.
3. Mobile Workforces
Equipping field teams or remote staff with refreshed smartphones and laptops provides workforce continuity at the lower capital output, crucial amidst disrupted supply chains for new electronics. Refurbs fill essential hardware needs.
4. Greener Image
Converting to refurbished office technology helps build a company’s reputation as an environmentally conscious business. With consumers and investors increasingly valuing sustainability, that goodwill can be invaluable.
If buying used gear sounds risky, rest assured that reputable retailers fully recondition refurbs to like-new quality. Many back them with warranties too. Still, buying in bulk for a business can raise valid concerns over dependability. Here are tips for safely switching to refurbs:
- Vet your retailer – Stick to major sellers like those with dedicated refurb stores for reliable devices. Check reviews.
- Understand warranty coverage – Know what defects or damage are protected if something goes wrong. Reputed Refurb Store includes a 1-year warranty same as new ones.
- Compare savings – Balance upfront savings against the possible shorter lifespan of a refurb compared to a new one. The cost advantage is often still substantial.
- Establish replacement budget – Allow for a minority percentage of refurb devices needing replacement over time. Still cheaper overall.
- Consider employee needs – Deploy refurbs appropriately. An engineer may require cutting-edge computing power that you only get in new. Refurb phones suit most staff.
With sensible implementation, sustainable technology and refurbished electronics enable considerable workplace savings and sustainability gains, both attractive business outcomes. By purchasing pre-used, reconditioned devices rather than entirely new equipment as workplace needs arise, companies large and small can refresh their tech while also refreshing their environmental credentials in the process – not to mention their bottom lines. That’s a genuine competitive edge as pressure grows on brands across every industry to limit waste and emit less carbon.