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Giving smartphones and tablets a second life brings clear relief to the environment

On the occasion of the Global Recycling Day: a new Fraunhofer Study is presented +++ Reconditioning smartphones and tablets for a second operating life extends the product lifecycle and makes a significant contribution to the protection of both the climate and resources +++ Through IT refurbishment, Interseroh was able to save a total of some 7,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases – equivalent to the emissions from about 4,200 cars

Cologne. The professional refurbishing of a single smartphone saves 14 kilograms of primary resources and 58 kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions. This was the conclusion reached by the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology (UMSICHT) in a study project that was commissioned by Interseroh. The survey has been published on the occasion of the Global Recycling Day which is being held by the world recycling association, the BIR, this Sunday, 18th March 2018. In the study project, the Fraunhofer researchers confirm the positive environmental impact of the reconditioning and reuse of IT devices offered by Interseroh compared with buying a new product. In addition to smartphones, the scientists also examined tablets. According to the results, the one-off reconditioning of a single tablet saves a total of 58 kilograms of primary resources and also reduces the emissions of climate-damaging gases by 139 kilograms. Since no details on device composition were available from many manufacturers, the experts at the Fraunhofer largely used data from the company Apple for their study.

Last year, in Germany alone, consumers purchased approximately 24 million smartphones and 6.6 million tablets. In addition to this, old devices are being replaced by new ones at increasingly short intervals. “If one considers the data calculated by Fraunhofer for all smartphones purchased in Germany last year – regardless of the brand – it is possible to calculate that their refurbishing alone is able to save some 1.4 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions. That is equivalent to the annual emissions from a city the size of Heilbronn,” explains Jan Höschel, Head of Business Center ReUse at INTERSEROH Dienstleistungs GmbH. “For our customers, the refurbishing constitutes a very affordable solution. Its positive impact on both our climate and resources is huge.”

The Fraunhofer scientists previously analysed the environmental impact of the reuse of PCs and notebooks on behalf of Interseroh in the year 2017. If the results of both study projects are combined, in the year 2017, the savings due to IT refurbishment by Interseroh amounted to more than 11,500 tonnes of primary resources and some 7,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases. Such a saving of harmful greenhouse gases is equivalent to the annual emissions from about 4,200 passenger cars. The experts’ survey was based on the assumption that new and reconditioned smartphones and tablets are used for two years, while PCs and notebooks are used for three and a half years.

“The reuse of IT devices leads to a reduction in the use of resources and contributes to the protection of the climate,” explained Dr. Markus Hiebel, Departmental Director of Sustainability and Resources Management at the Fraunhofer UMSICHT. “Our survey demonstrates the importance of the targeted extension of product lifecycles along the path to achieving an efficient loop economy.”

The IT Refurbishment Service offered by Interseroh is aimed at companies whose IT and communication devices frequently have a short useful life, even though they are mostly still functional. The subsidiary of recycling specialist ALBA Group buys these devices and organises all of the steps along their journey to reuse. This encompasses their collection throughout Europe and the secure and certified deletion of data and/or destruction of data carriers, including the detailed reporting. If the data carriers are defective or cannot be used for other reasons, the provider of environmental services will organise their professional disposal. Following the reconditioning, a conclusive analysis and functional tests take place, ensuring that high quality reconditioned devices only make it back onto the market.

Further information on the ReUse offer from Interseroh is available here:

About the Global Recycling Day:

With the Global Recycling Day, the world recycling association, the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) aims to raise the awareness of political decision-makers, the world of business and the general public for the importance of recycling to global protection of the environment and the climate. The day is taking place on 18th March 2018 – the 70th anniversary of the world association. The Global Recycling Day aims to support and advance recycling all over the world.

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Next to ALBA, Interseroh is one brand under the umbrella of the ALBA Group. The ALBA Group is one of the leading recycling and environmental services companies as well as raw material providers worldwide and operates within Germany, Europa and Asia. In 2019 its divisions generated an annual turnover of approx. 2.0 billion Euros and employed a staff of about 8,800 employees. In 2019 alone ALBA Group saved almost 4.2 million tonnes of greenhouse gases compared to primary production and at the same time about 32.3 million tonnes of primary raw materials through its recycling activities.








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