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How Evatech Reduces Waste & Responsible Waste Management

Published 29th Apr 2024 - 5 minute read

While it's an obvious and important sector for being environmentally conscious, our multi-pronged approach may not be as obvious. As we're Australian based, and a lot smaller than the likes of dominating companies who can effect large changes in the supply chain world-wide, like Apple or McDonalds for instance, we are currently forced to clean up our own backyard.

Purchasing components, building PCs, & delivery

As a systems integrator first, where and when possible, we opt to purchase non-retail versions of products which helps to cut down on packaging waste while still safely delivering bulk shipments of hardware. This saves us a little time in unboxing the typical retail packaging & accessories, and vastly reduces the volume of materials we need to dispose of.

When it comes to packing our PCs for courier delivery, we reuse all of the PC chassis packaging materials (thin plastic/fabric cover that goes over the case itself to protect the finish from micro-scratches, foam that snuggly holds the chassis in place once inside the box, and of course the exterior cardboard box) for which the chassis is designed to be transported in.

Many PC cases are still packaged by the manufacturer with Styrofoam instead of the more robust and reusable soft foam which is better at absorbing multiple impacts rather than just one. The soft foam is better at taking the weight of a fully built PC as opposed to just the case's weight, but it does seem to require more physical space which means less units per pallet for freight purposes. Soft foam so far appears to be more common with premium cases.

With the vast majority of PCs that we ship via courier, we also employ some further packaging measures of our own to protect what is now a fully built PC. Internal mouldable foam which expands to fit the void and stop the components from shifting during courier transport. Additionally, we will typically wrap the external cardboard of the chassis with two layers of bubble wrap, and a layer of black opaque cling wrap to deter any would-be thieves who are on the lookout for high-value items.

We have been experimenting with shipping PCs which have soft foam without the external layers of bubble wrap (still with the internal expanding foam and all other packaging methods) in an effort to reduce unnecessary waste, but further time will be needed to know if this is something we can continue with – perhaps only for non-remote destinations.

Above everything else, we want to ensure that we're not over-exposing ourselves to a high-likelihood of the PCs getting damaged, as that would be a great waste of incurring damaged hardware, return shipping, rebuilding the PC and incurring build waste again, and re-shipping the PC. Getting the delivery right the first time is a top priority.

Not all waste is created equal

We separate out the paper and cardboard and store them at our facility, and periodically take them down to our local council's recycling facility where they can be repurposed.

Unfortunately, not all manufacturers/products have reduced packaging options when purchasing, so we do end up with quite a lot of foam and plastics which we also dispose of.

With Styrofoam in particular we can dispose of small amounts (which thankfully is all we ever accumulate) at the council's recycling facility in the designated area to avoid contamination of other waste.

E-waste, which is what we consider hardware that is faulty with no further use or warranty left, or too old to be repurposed with other compatible hardware, can also be recycled by our local recycling facility where they break them down to extract the valuable materials. As of July 1st 2019, it is illegal for e-waste to be put into landfill in Victoria, so we're hopeful and confident that these once hardworking pieces of hardware can be torn down to bring new life to another component in the near future.

We kindly stress to customers that it's for the best if they retain their PC's packaging materials which can prove useful if customers ever need to move house, or if they need to return the PC to Evatech for service within or outside of warranty – and also serves as a great way to give it to the next PC owner if you decide to sell it. In Australia at least, chassis packaging is at a 1:1 ratio with the chassis itself, which is to say that even via our suppliers it's not possible to replace the packaging if it has been discarded.

Don't forget about our electronics recycling program!

Ambitions

As Australia isn't a hub for PC hardware manufacturing, we do have to rely on the pre-existing & mature supply chains that are in place, which for the most part work like a well-lubricated machine. This doesn't mean we can't see minor changes that could improve things:

  • Manufacturers should focus on minimal/no plastic packaging methods, & reducing unnecessarily inflated retail packaging which only aim to inflate the perceived value, or act as a collector's piece, etc.
  • All chassis packed by manufacturer with robust cardboard, or soft multi-impact absorbing foam rather than single-impact Styrofoam

Closer to home, we aspire to work out if by using chassis with soft foam packing we can reduce or eliminate the need for multiple layers of bubble wrap and still deliver PCs safely across Australia.

Wraith - AMD Ryzen Custom Gaming PC [Modified]

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