Sustainable Tech Over Fast Tech: A New Model for Businesses
Technology innovation is accelerating at an astronomical rate. Once taking years to reach the mass market, these innovations now hit the market in weeks. Unfortunately, such rapidly evolving tech advancement carries a hefty price tag in terms of company cost and environmental impact.
As soon as consumers and businesses buy the “latest and greatest” tech devices, they are on their way to becoming antiquated. This leads to them being quickly discarded in favour of the next shiny new tech product. But what happens to many outdated tech devices such as laptops, mobile phones, and related accessories? This is a pressing question to raise as it has far-reaching implications for not only businesses but for the health of our planet and our own health as well.
Implications of “fast tech”
The tech industry must come to terms with the environmental implications of its appetite for “fast tech.” One of the worst components of this waste is plastic. Though some plastic can be recycled, due to quality standards that must be maintained, there are limited opportunities to recycle this problematic substance on a large scale.
What can we do as consumers of technology?
What can we do, as consumers, to lessen the impact of our “one and then done” mentality regarding technology? For starters, we can educate ourselves on how the technology we are thinking of buying is produced, what its impacts are on the environment, and how long the product is anticipated to last.
In addition, we can focus on buying new products of higher quality to help lessen our contribution to global warming. Not only does producing a shiny new tech device harm the environment, but shipping, delivering, and even returning products also take a toll. Making sure our technology we purchase will last, and even working to maintain them by making repairs, replacing batteries, and buying refurbished devices can significantly reduce the impact on the environment. These positive actions can contribute significantly to the success of a circular economy.
The circular solution: a sustainable future for technology
Unfortunately, there are some tech companies who create less durable products in order to continually introduce new ones and are thus willing participants in the practise of planned obsolescence. A promising alternative to this “fast tech” mindset is for companies to focus on upstream innovation. In a circular economy, upstream innovation involves applying innovative approaches to redesign and improve the production or supply chains in an effort to minimise waste and environmental impact. By prioritising a focus on durable and long-lasting tech products, the industry can contribute to tech sustainability and reduce the waste that the fast tech industry brings.
In addition, preventing waste and embracing sustainable recycling and repurposing efforts decrease the need to include disposable tech in the circular economy, which helps make a circular economy viable.
By embracing upstream innovation and supporting a circular economy, companies will both save money by reusing tech instead of purchasing new, and they will benefit from increased consumer loyalty. These sustainable effort practises do not go unnoticed by consumers. Increasingly aware of the dangers of pollution, especially plastic pollution, customers look favourably to companies that are actively involved in creating sustainable products and committed to a circular economy.
We are quickly moving from a linear economy in which precious natural resources are mined to create products intended to be used for short periods of time, to a circular economy where sustainability is the primary focus. Such a monumental shift in the tech industry brings a new era of change to the fast tech industry, as tech devices and accessories produced in a circular economy are created to be more durable, reusable, repairable, and recyclable than their traditional counterparts.
Recycling, reusing, and repurposing
Transitioning to a circular economy requires worldwide effort. To slash plastic pollution by 80% globally by 2040, a new UN report suggests eliminating problematic and unnecessary plastics and calls for three market shifts – reuse, recycle, and reorient and diversify products. By tech devices and accessories, tech companies and consumers must implement upstream innovation and support the transition from a short-sighted linear economy to a sustainable, long-term circular economy.
Bottom line? By extending product life cycles and curbing waste in the tech arena, the environmental impact will be significantly lessened, companies will save money, and consumer loyalty will skyrocket.