As a reference unit for climate plans, a tonne of CO2 or carbon dioxide remains an abstract concept for most of us. This text explains to you what CO2 is and how you can save CO2 with, for example, the reuse/recycling of IT materials.
WHAT IS CO2?
CO2 or Carbon Dioxide is an invisible, odourless and colourless gas. And where does CO2 come from? Quite simply, through combustion: when you burn petrol, gas, wood, etc., CO2 is released. This is because all fuels (except hydrogen), whether renewable or fossil, contain carbon. When burned, carbon atoms pair with 2 oxygen atoms to form CO2.
WHY IS CO2 A PROBLEM FOR OUR NATURE?
The problem with excess CO2 is that, like all other greenhouse gases (e.g. methane), it triggers the greenhouse effect. All the CO2 in the atmosphere absorbs the sun's energy, slowly warming our planet. We know the effects of this as climate change. So for the health and stability of our planet, it is important that we all reduce our CO2 emissions.
WHAT EXACTLY IS A TONNE OF CO2?
These equivalents help you understand what scales we are talking about when talking about a tonne of CO2:
- the average emissions of one passenger on a return flight from Paris to New York
- driving 6000 km in a diesel car
- 4300 kWh of electricity consumption
To give you an indication, the average CO2 emissions of a resident of Belgium is 8 tonnes per year. (Source: Belgium: CO2 Country Profile - Our World in Data)
WHY DO YOU SAVE CO2 WITH RECYCLING/REUSE?
Recycling helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing energy consumption in the production of new appliances and materials. By using secondary raw materials from recycled materials, there is less need to extract or mine new raw materials. This results in huge savings in greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, manufacturing products from recycled materials generally requires less energy than manufacturing products from virgin materials. 2 significant benefits, in other words.
In turn, reuse is still a lot better than recycling. This is because today, unfortunately, many products are still manufactured from primary raw materials. A longer lifespan of appliances significantly reduces the mining of these raw materials, thus sparing nature more and also tackling the growing mountain of waste. Moreover, reuse saves the energy involved in dismantling and remanufacturing products from secondary raw materials.
In short, if we want to significantly reduce our CO2 emissions, it is best to go for maximum reuse of appliances first, and then maximum recovery of raw materials through recycling.
SAVING CO2 THANKS TO RE-USE OF IT DEVICES
Now that we know the importance of 1 tonne of CO2, the logical question follows as to how to save it.
The good news: 1 tonne of CO2 is already saved when you offer 1 desktop and 1 monitor for reuse. This is a huge opportunity for companies. Companies often use tens to hundreds of devices in their day-to-day operations. Think of laptops, computers, smartphones, tablets, but also projectors, beamers, printers and so on. So when these devices are replaced, they can save a lot of CO2 if they are offered for reuse. Maximum reuse and maximum recycling is Out of Use's core objective, so we are happy to advise and help you with this solution.
Do the test yourself with our CO2 calculator and calculate how much CO2 you can save by reusing/recycling your electrical and electronic equipment.
Calculate how much C02 you can save thanks to the recycling/reuse of your discarded IT equipment.