Financial sector needs to address growing eWaste problem

The global eWaste management market is expected to grow to $49.4bn by 2020. It is one of the fastest growing waste streams with the reduced life span of electrical, electronic and consumer electronic devices.

Research shows that the generation of eWaste is the highest in the IT sector followed by the Banking, Financial Services, and Insurance (BFSI) sector.

Improper disposal of electronic devices has an adverse effect on the environment and subsequently, there are now various regulations that are being enforced upon organisations for suitable recycling of electronic assets.

Organisations are now required to reduce their power consumption from server equipment and they therefore need to replace their existing infrastructure. The growth of eWaste is therefore supplemented by the growing need for upgrading to and adopting new technologies.

READ: Turning e-waste into money

The ever changing IT landscape and the acceptance of cloud computing has also created a huge problem of mounting eWaste.

As a result, companies are now adopting IT Asset Disposition (ITAD) to manage the disposal of eWaste and to minimise the risk of data loss. The niche ITAD market is growing rapidly, offering a range of specialist services including data destruction, recycling, reverse logistics and recovery.

This lucrative market was valued at USD 10bn in 2015 and is expected to double by 2022. Strict government regulations to minimise the possibilities environmental hazards create due to eWaste, are expected to drive this market. This is also pressurising small to medium sized businesses to adopt ITAD services and manage their waste more effectively.

Xperien CEO Wale Arewa says reducing the lifespan of IT equipment and the high adoption of cloud services increases dependence on ITAD. "As cloud computing continues to grow, it will shorten the lifespan of IT assets thereby triggering a considerable demand for ITAD services."

The ITAD market has managed to penetrate several industries due to the large number of standard regulatory compliances as well as the increasing focus on environmental safety. However, the performance and characteristics of ITAD depend largely upon the services offered.

READ: Apple touts greater use of recycled metal in gadgets

Arewa says the lack of awareness is a major restraint for the ITAD market growth. "IT assets require appropriate processes and procedures for their disposal after the completion of their lifecycle. ITAD service providers simplify the overall IT asset lifecycle process. Although IT asset disposal is time consuming, it is highly crucial for businesses that have heavy IT infrastructure."

"For the proper disposal of IT assets, awareness of the regulations and environmental concerns for using ITAD services are essential.  Many organisations do not assign any special budget for asset disposition and as a result, the asset may get disposed in an improper way, thus affecting the environment," he explains.

Being one of the most dynamic industries worldwide, manufacturers are always developing more energy efficient products that appeal to the ever-changing industry requirements. It is however a major concern for businesses to dispose of their existing infrastructure.

The ITAD market is largely driven by the rising electronics industry worldwide. Smartphones and tablets are witnessing rapid growth due to the growing demand for mobility and BYOD as an increasing number of employees start using mobile devices for work purposes.

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