Up to 99.9% of returned equipment can be re-used or recycled

Back in December 2021, BT announced a new business-wide plan, aiming to ensure that the company’s growth was responsible, inclusive, and sustainable.

The Manifesto pledged to help its customers reduce their own carbon emissions by 60 million tonnes by 2030, build towards a circular BT by 2030, and launch a new movement to improve the UK’s diverse digital talent pipeline.

Prior to this, BT had already pledged to reach net zero carbon emissions from its own operations by 2030 and to help 25 million people across the UK improve their digital skills by 2025.

Today, BT has taken the next step towards fulfilling its Manifesto promises, announcing a new programme with its technology partner Cisco aimed at reducing customers’ e-waste footprints.

Under the new scheme, equipment that is being replaced or decommissioned in BT’s business customers’ networks will be returned to Cisco, where it will be reused or recycled. According to BT, up to 99.9% of equipment can be repurposed in this way.

For now, the programme will be available for BT’s business customers in the UK, US, Italy, Ireland, Switzerland, and Singapore, with Cisco-certified environmental specialists to be added to additional countries by the end of the year.

“E-waste is a growing concern and according to the World Economic Forum now the fastest-growing waste stream in the world. Our customers and partners have made commitments to report on and improve performance in this critical area,” said Hriday Ravindranath, chief product and digital officer at BT’s Global unit. “Creating a more sustainable, circular economy, where we prioritise dematerialisation and avoid equipment going to landfill, is vital. It builds on our leadership in sustainability and will help deliver on our BT Group Manifesto commitments and ambition to connect for good.”

Overall, BT has pledged to extend the circular economy throughout its entire supply chain by 2040, having already begun the process with a takeback and reuse service for customers’ smartphones.

However, despite the increasing number of recycling options available for consumer and business electronics, research from BT last year showed that 31% of British people still do not know how to recycle unwanted electronics equipment.

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