Unlocking sustainability and savings with refurbished tech

As businesses strive to balance innovation and growth with sustainable practices, the environmental impact of tech estates can’t be ignored. With rising tech prices and shrinking margins adding financial pressures, companies are increasingly turning to refurbished device tech as a solution to address both carbon footprint and cost concerns.


Investing in refurbished tech echoes the triple bottom line: people, planet, and profit. It addresses financial constraints while significantly reducing your environmental footprint and allowing you to recoup the value of your old tech.

The affordability gains are substantial. Opting for an 18-month-old smartphone can save businesses and consumers up to 70% compared to buying new, for example. And then there are the environmental savings.

Choosing a refurbished smartphone over a new one saves 64kg of CO2 emissions from manufacturing, conserves 244kg of raw materials, prevents the use of 76,000 litres of water per device, and avoids adding 200g of e-waste to landfills.

As individuals and businesses, we need to find practical solutions to the climate emergency and the growing issue of e-waste. In 2019 alone, we amassed nearly 54 million tonnes of e-waste globally, a figure projected to reach 74 million tonnes by 2030. Transitioning to a circular economy will help to alleviate this.

Getting ahead of the game

Investing in refurbished tech can address financial constraints while contributing to your company's green plans and closing the loop in the wider tech market. Here are three steps to pave the way for bringing refurbished tech to your company:

1. Consider the position of your device tech stack within your ESG policy. Your tech stack is likely one of the highest-impact areas of your business in terms of emissions. Include guidelines on disposing of and replacing unused devices, remembering that trading in old devices and replacing them with refreshed ones will reduce your Scope 3 emissions and environmental impact.

2. Calculate the CO2 emissions of your current tech estate. It will help you understand the environmental impact of your device-buying decisions. By partnering with Alchemy, you'll get a clear understanding of how much CO2e you could save by trading in old devices and buying refurbished tech.

3. Calculate the approximate value of your tech estate. You’ll see clearly how much money you can save by trading in unused devices and replacing them with refurbished options. Knowing the value you can generate from the tech you already own will highlight the cost savings.

Convincing decision-makers

Even if you're convinced about renewing your business’s existing products with refurbished devices, you may face internal resistance. In this case, highlight these tangible benefits:

1. CO2 Savings: Alchemy partners with Greenly, the global carbon accounting platform, to certify the CO2e saving of every device we refurbish and remarket. Using our carbon calculator, you can see how much your company is saving in emissions by buying refreshed devices.

2. Tax Benefits: Check your region's tax code for potential incentives, such as reduced Goods and Services Tax schemes, deductions, or bonus depreciation for buying second-hand equipment.

3. Cost Comparison: Provide a clear cost-benefit analysis contrasting refurbished tech with new purchases, underscoring the significant savings and their potential reallocation towards other company needs. Also consider the value of trading in your unused devices.

As the demand for the global secondary smartphone market grows, with India's demand increasing by 19% year-over-year in 2022, the benefits of embracing refurbished tech will only become more apparent.

Companies in the US are already blazing the trail, recognizing that circular economy trends include specifying not just the number, age, and types of devices required, but also the equipment that will be traded in as part of the contract. It's a clear signal of a maturing mindset – one that reconciles the economical with the ecological.

The sooner we get the message out, the sooner we can all reap the benefits of refurbished tech and contribute to a more sustainable future.

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