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Circular economy through the implementation of a take-back and refurbishment program


Segment    Family    Class




SDG Alignment

9. Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

SDG Target


Target Description

By 2030, upgrade infrastructure and retrofit industries to make them sustainable, with increased resource-use efficiency and greater adoption of clean and environmentally sound technologies and industrial processes, with all countries taking action in accordance with their respective capabilities

Level of Effort

Level of Effort Scale


1 -Quick Wins: solution involves adding criteria for the good or service being purchased (ex: certifications), minimal internal process changes.

2 -Long Term Adoption: solution requires some changes to internal processes and/or more capital investment (ex: digital transformation to reduce paper use).

3 – Disruptive Opportunities: requires significant investment and changes to internal processes (ex: retrofitting building)

Category Assessment

ETCH Procurement Process .png


• Conduct an internal assessment of how computers are currently being disposed of.

• Look into the viability of a takeback or exchange program with suppliers. Conduct an assessment on which one of these programs your supplier would be more in support of (sometimes a takeback program is not economically feasible for a supplier, so they may need some incentive, which an exchange program provides).

• Research to see if there are other companies available in the market that may offer product take back services, not just the OEM supplier.

• Evaluate the potential commercial benefits associated with recycling the end-product.

Opportunity Identification 

Cost savings on waste management practices and provides the opportunity to reduce costs with suppliers.

Reduced hazardous waste entering the landfill and reduce overall volume of wastes. Computer components contain many toxic substances, like dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls, cadmium, chromium, radioactive isotopes, and mercury.

Strategy Build & Execution

• Work with your IT department to get a comprehensive understanding of your current computer equipment, what units are due for upgrades. Decide on which products are fit for a reuse or refurbishment program.

• Align with suppliers on the potential for implementation of a takeback or exchange program.

• Implement training programs instructing employees of these necessary procedures.

• Implement a company policy to ensure that employees are following the necessary procedures for recycling their computers.

Supplier Negotiation & Contract

• In contracts, require vendors to provide takeback services using providers certified under the R2 or E-Stewards Standards (or non-US equivalent program); see the links in references for additional detail.

• Contract terms can be modified into an exchange program if the suppliers need more incentive to do a takeback program.

Supplier Performance & Management

• Maintain records of turnaround time, takeback program profit and loss reporting, purchasing and warehousing cost, average inventory level, and inventory variations.

• Perform an internal review after the program has been implemented to evaluate the commercial impact of large scale computer refurbishment and environmental impact; compare to historical data.

Resource Links

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