The global waste problem is now electronic — and so are its solutions

  • Simple op changes can pave way for more sustainable business landscape
  • DaaS a game-changer in acquiring, managing electronic devices sustainably


The global waste problem is now electronic — and so are its solutionsIn today's business world, technology is like the engine pushing companies into a future where everything is about digital advancements and improvements. However, this also results in a formidable challenge — the staggering accumulation of 420.3 million tonnes of e-waste globally, which primarily comes from the disposal of obsolete IT equipment. Here in Malaysia, we also grapple with our own e-waste challenges, generating approximately 365,000 tonnes of e-waste annually. Clearly, tackling this electronic waste problem is a matter of immediate urgency.

While commendable efforts such as the Environmental Quality (Scheduled Waste) Regulations and even a national e-waste collection day exist, they primarily address the disposal of existing e-waste. What we need more of are proactive measures designed to curtail e-waste at its source, and businesses — as major contributors of e-waste — must recognise their role as catalysts for positive change. Simple operational changes can pave the way for a more sustainable business landscape.

Integrating digital mindfulness into business purchasing decisions

A foundational step in sustainable e-waste management is adopting a mindful approach to purchasing electronic equipment. Many organisations face redundancy issues as different teams independently acquire similar gadgets, leading to the accumulation of surplus electronic devices and eventual e-waste. To address this, businesses should actively seek out electronics manufacturers prioritising Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) principles.

In the ambit of the 12th Malaysia Plan, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has spearheaded the proactive implementation of EPR. From a business-to-business (B2B) standpoint, collaboration with such manufacturers becomes crucial, ensuring that products are not only efficient but also designed with sustainability in mind. It ensures alignment with environmental goals, regulatory compliance, and corporate social responsibility, fostering a responsible and sustainable business ecosystem that contributes to the nation's environmental agenda.

Eliminating waste through digital subscription of daily software and devices

While responsible purchasing, EPR, and repairs are crucial, a groundbreaking solution gaining prominence is the Device-as-a-Service (DaaS) model. Recognising the shortcomings of our linear economy, where goods are produced, used, and discarded without consideration for consequences, the DaaS model aligns seamlessly with the emerging circular economy. As the global rental market is already growing by a significant 30%, DaaS emerges as a game-changer in acquiring and managing electronic devices sustainably.

DaaS allows businesses to subscribe to devices instead of making outright purchases. This aligns with a circular economy mindset, reducing long-term commitments and ensuring responsible device management. Complete Human Network (CHN), as an enterprise mobility company, actively contributes to reducing e-waste through the DaaS model, collaborating with industry leaders and various ecosystem partners. The scalability and flexibility of DaaS make it accessible for businesses for all sizes, empowering them to contribute to a more sustainable future.

The DaaS methodology has showcased proven success through widespread adoption across diverse sectors including financial services, banking & insurance, aviation, government, education, and POS retail. This adoption has been substantial and impactful.

Businesses are urged to move beyond waste disposal and work towards waste elimination. By adopting a circular economy mindset, supporting innovative models like DaaS, and making environmentally conscious choices, every business, regardless of size, can play a vital role in creating a sustainable future.

After all, why settle for disposing waste when we can work towards eliminating it altogether?

Teh Chai Peng is founder and CEO of Complete Human Network (CHN)


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