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Used appliances can also have a place in your business. It often saves you some IT budget, and it’s better for the environment, too. How far can you take the refurbished story into your business?

Used consumer technology is a growing market in Europe. Panasonic Toughbook sees that financial considerations mainly drive the market. According to their research, only a quarter of customers buy a refurbished device for sustainability reasons.

E-waste is however a big problem in Europe. In 2020 the European Commission put a new plan for a circular economy in action. The plan should reduce electronic waste or e-waste. So far, the plan has introduced one concrete law: the obligation of the USB-C cable for electronic devices. The plan also initiated a discussion for a repair law, so that defective devices do not immediately go to the scrap yard.

Sustainability goals in businesses

In the corporate world, the vision is different. Steven Vindevogel, deputy head of Panasonic Toughbook, says the growth of the B2B market for used technology has been driven primarily by meeting sustainability goals. That may be from a voluntary initiative, but regulations also make refurbished devices find their way into businesses more frequently.

Still, only a small portion of businesses are currently betting on refurbished devices. According to Panasonic Toughbook, industry experts expect more companies to show interest in used electronics. Key players in the industry predict an increase in demand for refurbished printers, for example, made up of at least 90% used parts. This trend occurs especially in Southern European markets due to legal requirements and public procurement guidelines.

Refurbished in your business

We were mainly left with the question after reading the press release, what second-hand electronic devices can you get for your organization? Of course, there are the obvious options of used smartphones, laptops, computers, monitors and as Panasonic pointed out, printers.

You can get even more out of your IT budget by purchasing used devices for your data centre as well. That way you’ll come out cheaper or get a more powerful device for the same money. In fact, hardware from hyperscalers is especially in demand in this market. They regularly replace their hardware and thus bring perfectly functioning devices to the second-hand market. Moreover, the devices are immediately available, whereas delivery times of new hardware can be hefty.

When buying a second-hand device, there are also a few things to consider beforehand. The hardware is more likely to come to the end of its support period. As a result, your company has a higher turnover rate of data centre equipment. In fact, continuing with devices that no longer have support poses security risks.

In addition, second-hand equipment is more likely to be defective. There is a higher risk of non-working parts or damage. You can eliminate many of these risks by looking for a reliable outlet. The customer service and the number of points of contact with the seller, in many cases, give away the quality.

This just doesn’t change anything about the energy efficiency of the hardware. Appliances are becoming increasingly energy efficient, so an outdated device can quickly push cooling and energy costs sky-high.

Despite some pitfalls, refurbished hardware will gain importance in the business world in the coming years. The evolution is mainly driven by sustainability goals or legislation. As long as you carefully choose a reliable point of sale, you can already do your bit for the environment with second-hand devices.