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Environmental benefits of selling your excess stock

Environmental benefits of selling your excess stock

As environmental concern has increased, businesses are looking for new and innovative ways to reduce waste and be greener.

For businesses that buy and manufacture electronic components, an effective environmental management plan is essential to meet targets. But as components build up, targets can quickly become unattainable.

An electronic component conundrum

Electronic components are purchased in huge quantities by manufacturers. For example, Sony might purchase 10,000 mainboards from a supplier for a new TV. But what happens to the mainboards that are not used?

They can’t be used in another Sony product line. They can’t be recycled without costing Sony thousands. So, what should they do?

The simplest and easiest solution to offload a lot of components is to sell them to the highest bidder, however, when it comes to the environment, it is also important to sell to a company that can release equity in the components.

Doing so brings about several environmental benefits:

  1. More components can enter service – this creates less waste and reduces demand for new components

The bulk of the environmental footprint of an electronic component was created when it was manufactured. If a component can enter service when it would otherwise be scrapped, it reduces demand for newer components to be made.  

This disrupts the manufacturing cycle to the environment’s benefit. Less energy is used to manufacture fewer parts and less raw materials are needed to make the components. This has a ripple effect across the supply chain.

  1. More components get recycled – this feeds the manufacturing industry with raw materials that already exist  

The cultivation of raw materials has an enormous carbon footprint.

Gold mining, for example, has enormous emissions, and gold can be found in most electronic components, from processors and printed circuit boards to hard drives.

If you sell your electronic components to a company that can recycle them, a significant element of the component’s emissions (mining, raw material production) can be saved and not go to waste. This will also reduce the demand for new raw materials.

  1. Fewer components are scrapped – this prevents them from entering landfill and being incinerated

In 2017, a report by United Nations University found that discarded electronics (namely phones and computers) are behind the world’s fastest-growing waste problem.

Individual components also contribute to this. Most of the waste ends up in landfill, but some waste gets incinerated as well.

Unsurprisingly, E-waste is predicted to double by 2050 if action isn’t taken.

When selling excess electronic components, the company that buys them will usually buy them all at once and be able to offload around 5% of them for reuse. Most of the stock that can’t be reused will then be recycled for constituent parts.

This means thousands of electronic components that would otherwise end up in landfill or be incinerated can find use in new electronics or be recycled.

Summing up

Selling your electronic components has three main environmental benefits:

  1. More components can enter service, reducing new manufacturing demand with a ripple effect across the supply chain.
  2. More components get recycled, feeding the manufacturing industry with raw materials that have already been produced.
  3. Fewer components are scrapped, reducing the burden on landfill sites and harmful pollution from incineration.

For businesses with a supply chain, the incentivisation to be greener also goes deeper than the environment; there are a rising number of corporations who have pledged not to work with businesses who do not comply with their standards.

It would seem then that having a sustainable supply chain is not only good for the environment but good for business too. That’s a win-win whichever way you look at it, and reason enough to buy into being greener.


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