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BT and Cisco team up to recycle 99.9% of old network kit

BT e-waste

UK telco group BT will ship replaced or decommissioned kit from customer’s networks to Cisco, where it will be to be re-used or recycled.

Up to 99.9% of old network kit ripped out during upgrades will be re-used or recycled as part of the new programme designed to reduce BT’s business customers’ e-waste, by drafting in Cisco to process the end-of-life equipment through its existing ‘takeback and reuse’ programme.

BT has recruited Cisco-certified environmental specialists in the UK, US, Italy, Ireland, Switzerland and Singapore to deal with the recycling effort, and further countries will be added by end of 2022.

We are told this move is part of BT Group’s ‘manifesto pledge’ to move to ‘circular products networks and operations’  – presumably a reference to the circular economy concept which means reusing things rather than throwing them in a landfill – by 2030, extended to its supply chain by 2040.

“E-waste is a growing concern and according to WEF 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 & 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.”

The announcement cites a claim by the World Economic Forum that 57.4 million tonnes of e-waste – which just means old discarded tech basically – was generated during 2021 with only 20% recycled. It reckons this could rise to 120 million tonnes each year, and 70% of hazardous waste deposited in landfills is from e-waste. Which is a pretty grim picture.

As much as we should not be swept along when firms get on their soap box about vague environmental pledges and sentiments, if through this scheme 99.9% of old kit discarded during a network upgrade is being genuinely reused or recycled rather than being chucked in the sea, that would seem to categorise it as one of the more tangible and legitimate corporate green gestures.

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One comment

  1. Avatar Daniel Jones 09/10/2022 @ 1:53 pm

    Our company – Shields – has been doing this for BT for over 40 years now. As a SME we do not get the recognition as Cisco. Pleased to see the bigger OEMs are catching on!

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