Adam Whitehouse, TMT First
TMT First Founder Adam Whitehouse has set out what he believes the next Government should do regarding tech devices.

Tech boss says post-election government must act to end throw-away electronic device culture 

2 mins read

The founder of an award-winning Staffordshire tech company is calling on the next government to take drastic action to encourage businesses to repair devices rather than replace them. 

TMT First’s Adam Whitehouse says it will be virtually impossible for companies to meet the current UK target of becoming net zero by 2050 if steps aren’t taken to incentivise them to recycle and repair. 

With the mountain of electrical waste* predicted to grow to 74 million tonnes a year by 2030, Adam is calling for whoever is in power after the General Election to: 

•             Scrap or reduce VAT on technology repairs. 

•             Introduce a UK repair voucher scheme, to promote sustainable consumption (like those seen in other areas of Europe) to incentivise people to get their broken electronic devices repaired. 

•             Bring in targets so that when businesses acquire tech, at least 10 percent of purchases per year have to be refurbished or repaired devices. 

Adam’s company, TMT First, is a provider of technology lifecycle services for the circular economy – processing more than 250,000 devices each year. It employs 150 staff from a 43,000 square foot headquarters in Newcastle-under-Lyme. 

He says that electronic items, like mobiles, laptops and tablets that could be fixed, too often get thrown away, instead contributing to pollution and increasing the global demand for components including rare earth elements, which when mined can damage local environments. 

Adam said: “Back in 2022 the International Waste and Electrical Equipment Forum estimated that 5.3 billion mobiles phones would be thrown away – that figure will have only increased.  

“Today the world’s largest device manufacturers including Samsung and Apple provide operating systems and security updates for up to seven years – so there’s no need for these mobile devices to have been thrown away – they can be repaired and repurposed which is far more sustainable. 

“And, yes, we are a business that specialises in extending the life of digital devices, but this is much bigger than the part we can play – the climate crisis is real, and we must collectively take action.  

“Come Friday, whoever is in power needs to encourage people to get devices repaired – they need to make it easier by introducing sustainable incentives such as removing VAT from refurbished tech or adopting proven schemes like those seen in Europe to incentivise repairs.  

“People are also more aware of e-waste and the carbon generated during the manufacture of smartphones, tablets or laptops.   

“Buying a refurbished device, repairing it or sending it to be recycled when it finally is beyond repair is vital in today’s drive to respect the planet and adopt a more sustainable approach in business.  

“It’s time to give e-waste the attention it needs when we’re looking at future polices and whoever wins at the General Election needs to make a stand.” 

*E-waste which describes discarded electrical or electronic devices is the fastest growing waste stream worldwide.  

According to the Global E-waste Statistics Partnership, 53.6 million metric tons of e-waste was generated in 2019, with only a portion being recycled properly.  

The Global E-waste Monitor 2024 states that a record 62 million metric tons of e-waste were generated globally in 2022, that would fill 1.55 million 40-tonne trucks, roughly enough trucks to form a bumper-to-bumper line encircling the equator, and only 22.3% of this e-waste was formally collected and recycled.  

Nigel Pye

Experienced journalist with a 30-year career in the newspaper and PR industry and a proven record for breaking stories for the national and international press. Nigel is the Editor of Daily Focus and Head of Creative at i-creation. Other work includes scriptwriting, magazine and video production, crisis communications and TV and radio broadcasts.

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