The transformation from HiTech Assets to CircleIT is grounded in a simple question: what does it mean to do good? For the last 20 years, traditional ITADs have focused on maximizing profits for their clients and have typically relegated sustainability to a secondary or even tertiary concern. CircleIT is flipping the traditional ITAD model on its head and gearing its operations to create a more circular economy. By prioritizing repurposing over recycling, creating a first of its kind Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) program, and expanding its services to small businesses and consumers, CircleIT is striking a stark divide between the traditional ITAD model and itself.
The United Nations estimates that by 2030 annual e-waste can grow to 75 million metric tons (MMT), up from 53.6 MMT in 2019, making it the fastest-growing source of trash in the world. CircleIT seeks to reduce the demand for new electronics and increase the life of old, slow, and broken electronics by repurposing them. For traditional ITADs, repurposing isn’t a lucrative answer. Selling parts of a device or opting to recycle generates more revenue and lowers the cost of handling. But that isn’t the sustainable answer and does less to decrease the environmental and social burdens of e-waste. By repurposing devices whole or refurbishing older parts for reuse, CircleIT is extending the life of would-be trash and helping meet the growing demand for all types of electronics. This helps eliminate the carbon emissions of mining, manufacturing, and shipping new devices, shrink the waste stream of electronics ending up in landfills and helps bridge the digital divide.
Compared to climate change and the burgeoning e-waste crisis, the digital divide receives little attention despite its importance. The digital divide is the gap between those that can take advantage of technology (e.g., access to computers and the internet) and those that can’t. Those without access can’t participate in online learning, can’t take advantage of digital services, and struggle to develop many digital skills that are critical for many forms of employment. Through its community-based product partnerships, CircleIT can repurpose more electronics while providing less fortunate individuals with an opportunity to get ahead in a technologically demanding world.
Traditional ITAD companies are often locked into onerous revenue-sharing contracts that force ITADs to seek solutions that create the most immediate profits, which often results in activity that isn’t ideal for driving the best environmental and social outcomes. CircleIT is able to focus on repurposing over recycling by unlocking an entirely new category of value for its clients – ESG credit. Through CircleIT’s first of its kind certified ESG program, corporations can now claim the positive environmental and social benefits of CircleIT’s services towards their own ESG goals.
In addition to its ESG program, CircleIT is also expanding its consumer base. Traditional ITAD companies have exclusively offered their services to corporations, eschewing the 250,000 U.S. small and medium businesses and millions of everyday consumers. CircleIT, through its new digital services, is now reaching these neglected markets. Now anyone from a remote worker to a dentist office can sustainably dispose of their neglected electronics while having their data protected by CircleIT’s Department of Defense level data security. Growing its client pool will also increase CircleIT’s contributions to the circular economy. Whether it is finding methods for reuse through product partnerships, refurbishing for resale, or repurposing materials for integration into new devices, more electronics will avoid the landfill. A circular economy cannot be achieved if companies like CircleIT ignore a large swath of the potential market.
To hold itself accountable to its consumers and values, CircleIT has become a certified B Corporation. As the largest B Corp in the ITAD industry, CircleIT receives validation from a third-party vendor for its overall positive impact and undertakes a rigorous assessment, which accounts for “a company’s impact on its workers, customers, community, and environment.” Through third-party validation and public transparency, certified B Corps build trust within their marketplace and uphold sustainability as a core value. Its status as a B Corp will reinforce CircleIT’s aspirations for a circular economy, holding it accountable to its vision.
Doing good is not a simple flip of the switch and cannot be done in a reactionary setting. It takes a proactive approach that binds a company’s future to the premise of doing good. CircleIT is on the precipice while still offering high-quality data erasure services that keep businesses compliant with regulations and protecting consumers from data leaks. As clients put social capital over short-term profit CircleIT’s potential market will expand its positive impact on the circular economy and growing a successful company curated for the 21st century.