How does BT aim to reduce business customers’ e-waste?

In collaboration with Cisco, BT is helping to reduce e-waste and offer ways to responsibly repurpose old networking equipment

BT has partnered with Cisco to launch a new programme aimed at reducing business customers' e-waste by recycling end-of-life equipment and helping them achieve their targets for a circular economy.

The new programme comes as organisations around the world are transforming their network and IT infrastructure to support the latest multi-cloud deployments. As part of this transformation, BT environmental specialists will work with customers to better understand and map the role of sustainability in a digital world.

This announcement is also the latest step in BT Group's Manifesto pledge to move to circular products, networks and operations by 2030, and then extend this across its supply chain by 2040.

"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," said Hriday Ravindranath, Chief Product & Digital Officer at BT's Global unit.

Creating a more sustainable and circular economy  

Replaced or decommissioned electronic equipment from a customer's network will be shipped back to Cisco to be responsibly re-used or recycled through its takeback and reuse programme. Up to 99.9% of what is returned will be re-used or recycled.

According to the World Economic Forum(WEF), 57.4 million tonnes of e-waste was generated during 2021 with only 20% recycled. If left unchecked, this could rise to 120 million tonnes each year. WEF also reported that 70% of hazardous waste deposited in landfills is from e-waste.

"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," added Ravindranath. 

BT has Cisco-certified environmental specialists in the UK, US, Italy, Ireland, Switzerland and Singapore to manage the process, with further countries to be added by end of 2022.

BT previously launched a public appeal in August last year to encourage the general public to research recycling opportunities for unused or unwanted tech that may be lying around the house. A survey commissioned by the company revealed almost a third of Britons (31%) didn’t know how to recycle unwanted devices, with printers proving to be the most confusing.

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