Singapore generates around 60,000 tonnes of electronic waste (e-waste) annually. When e-waste is not properly disposed of and recycled, it will release materials hazardous to the environment like lead and mercury. Case in point: Non-profit organisation Greenpeace East Asia has found that soil samples from an informal e-waste recycling site contain lead levels up to 19 times higher than the acceptable limit.
Given our heavy dependence on electronics today and that new digital devices — such as personal computers and smartphones — are being launched more frequently, is there a way to reduce the amount of e-waste produced? HP believes this is possible if devices are designed with sustainability in mind and through the adoption of services-based solutions.
Baking sustainability into digital devices
“For HP, design for sustainability has been core to the products we create… and we’re doing that at a very large scale. We’ve been using 55.3 million kilos of recycled plastics in all of our products since 2019, equivalent to the weight of 1,449 humpback whales. The goal is to keep plastics in a circular economy instead of going to a landfill,” says Stacy Wolff, global head of design and sustainability for personal systems at HP. He was speaking at the company’s “Future Ready Better Together” event in Tokyo last month.
HP is also making efforts to use as much recycled precious materials, particularly aluminium and magnesium, in its PCs. Wolff shares that over the years, the company has recycled “8.1 million kilos of metals, equivalent to 1,380 African bush elephants”.
For instance, the company’s new all-in-one PC launched this year is designed to effectively support hybrid work and be serviceable while being environmentally friendly. Its front and back covers are made of 60% post-consumer recycled plastic (PCR) and 0.3% organic coffee grounds as an additive, the latter as an indication to customers that the product is based on recycled content. Moreover, the column that allows the height of the device to be adjusted is made of 75% recycled aluminium.
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The HP 14-inch Laptop PC Eco edition also exemplifies how HP is taking a circular and sustainable approach to the design of its PCs. The laptop is built using ocean-bound plastic, PCR, recycled aluminium and bio-circular content such as used cooking oil. Explaining the use of used cooking oil, Wolff says: “In many countries, we see waste oil inadvertently or intentionally dumped into waterways and landfills. So, we’re reconstituting used cooking oil and turning it into pellets to make the bottom cover of the [HP 14-inch Laptop PC Eco edition. This is how we’re] rethinking the formula when it comes to packaging. We want to make sure that every piece of the product has a sustainable solution.”
Benefits of service-based solutions
Offering service-based solutions is another way HP is enabling businesses to lower their environmental footprint while addressing the needs of a hybrid workforce and reducing the complexity of device management. “[With HP’s device-as-a-service (DaaS), organisations can] maximise the return on investment and optimise their total cost of ownership, not just financially but also from a sustainability point of view,” says Dave Shull, president of workforce solutions at HP.
HP’s DaaS, he adds, enables organisations to deploy the right devices (such as notebooks, desktops and workstations) for their hybrid workforce, proactively identify issues in those devices and get them repaired to prolong their lifespan. “We have sensors embedded in almost all our devices to measure telemetry data. By applying AI-driven analytics to that data, customers can easily monitor device health and performance as well as receive alerts on potential IT issues so that they can take proactive actions,” he says. This allows organisations to use their devices for longer and go beyond the usual three to five years of PC refresh lifecycle, which ultimately reduces e-waste.
The service can also help strengthen an organisation’s IT cybersecurity posture. Organisations can opt to add HP Wolf Security Services for an extra layer of protection apart from the built-in security capabilities on HP devices.
Besides DaaS, HP is providing ink and toner services for its printers too. With the HP Instant ink service, organisations will never run out of ink or toner for the printers that are linked to the HP Smart app. When the app detects that the ink or toner is close to running out, it will alert HP to deliver the replacement device-specific ink or toner cartridges. HP says that subscribers can save up to 50% on ink costs compared to retail prices. The service also allows organisations to return used cartridges to HP by post using prepaid shipping labels, ensuring that e-waste makes it into the recycling ecosystem.
A collective effort
It takes a collective effort to reduce e-waste and solve the climate problem. Recognising this, HP has trained, educated and empowered more than 1,400 partners since 2021 to drive change while maximising opportunities with sustainability as a key competitive differentiator through the HP Amplify Impact Program.
The programme provides partners with training, sales tools, marketing assets, and access to HP’s Sustainability and Compliance Centre, HP Life and HP Planet Partners. Participants can access an automated, modular sustainability planning platform with advanced capabilities, including Carbon Footprint and 360 Diversity Equity and Inclusion assessments, and toolkits designed to inspire community volunteer projects. Participants will also be recognised through certification and a global annual awards programme.
“The betterment of society is not a job for the few. It is a job for all of us. So whether it be the manufacturer of a PC, a partner or a retailer, we’re in this together. We need to [collectively] drive a responsible product/solution to all customers,” says Wolff.