Tech Swap: Reusing & recycling pre-loved tech

As part of our commitment to improving sustainability at ATASS, we decided to go a step further and extend our recycling goals beyond work equipment to personal items as well.

We have recently wrapped up a month long ‘Tech Swap’ scheme, inviting people to bring in unwanted electrical equipment with a view to swapping or trading with other members of staff. At the end of the month any remaining items have been responsibly recycled by a local waste management company.

Taking in items ranging from old phones and laptops to soup makers, we successfully re-homed half of the donated items, with the remainder being passed on for recycling. We felt the ‘swap’ aspect of the initiative was particularly important; recycling should really be a last resort and with so many items being traded, it’s clear that many items can be re-used beyond their first purchase. We were also pleased to be able to offer a responsible recycling service for items that couldn’t be re-homed – a key comment being that people were very keen that old items did not simply end up in landfill.

The success of the scheme in terms of engagement has been such that we’re already looking for more opportunities to run this again, and we’re planning to do a similar swap of unwanted toys and games in the run up to Christmas. In terms of impact: The average mobile creates 55 kilograms of carbon emissions in manufacture – a laptop is more like 150 kg. So even by reducing the need to buy a few pieces of additional hardware, we’re starting to make a difference