A PARTNERSHIP between two North East tech companies is helping chip away at the global e-waste crisis, one device at a time.

Unified communications specialist Nice Network and IT recycling firm Rebuyer have joined forces to help businesses securely and sustainably dispose of their end of life electrical devices and equipment.

Over the past 12 months, the pair have helped refurbish and resell thousands of items, ranging from personal computers to mobile devices, laptops and tablets, which otherwise would have added to the world’s fastest growing waste stream, e-waste.

According to a recent report by the United Nations (UN), 50 million tonnes of e-waste is generated every year - and this figure is expected to more than double to over 110 million tonnes by 2050, due to the rise of new technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT) and wearables.

Sunderland-based Rebuyer is championing a circular economy for the disposal of electrical goods by working with companies such as Nice Network, also based in Sunderland, to help them dispose of corporate electrical and electronic waste.

Simon Howatson, CEO and co-founder of Rebuyer, said: “Businesses nowadays are extremely tech focused, I don’t think there’s a single industry that hasn’t been affected in some way, shape or form by digital transformation.

“In fact, you’d be hard pressed to find any department of an organisation that doesn’t utilise some sort of smart technology. This means systems and devices are becoming extremely app heavy as a result, resulting in shorter life-spans and much faster disposal times.”

Rebuyer enables businesses to sustainably dispose of equipment and devices, while generating a completely new revenue stream in the process.

“By reselling the devices, we also help reduce the number of off-the-shelf devices being sold, which is another huge contributor to the e-waste crisis. The release of toxins from mining the minerals required to manufacture electronic goods can be extremely hazardous and has such a detrimental impact on the environment,” Mr Howatson added.

Andrew Bentley, telecom operations manager at Nice Network, which works with said: “We have worked incredibly hard on increasing our own corporate social responsibility activity over the past few years and reducing our carbon footprint has been central to this. When we met with Simon and the team at Rebuyer, we couldn’t wait to get involved with the project.

“Not only have they created a business model that drives profits - but it also drives positive change for the environment. It’s a perfect example of the benefits that can be reaped by companies being responsible and embracing the circular economy.

“However, while we’re incredibly proud of all the work we’ve done so far - and how the relationship has grown over the last 12 months - we’re also aware that we can’t rest on our laurels and that more must be done to tackle e-waste, which is now one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world.

“Businesses and individuals alike have a responsibility to ensure they safely and securely dispose of their end-of-life electronic equipment and devices and we’d encourage anyone looking to do so, to research the topic and ensure they do so in a responsible manner. We all have a part to play in tackling the problem.”