Safely recycling your unwanted technology is now as easy as opening an app

A UK-based Microsoft Gold Partner, which offers complete technology solutions as well as an IT recycling service, will start planting trees for customers who use its new e-waste app to recycle their unwanted technology.

Stone Group, which uses Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform and M365 to run its business, recycles over 330,000 units of e-waste – such as laptops, desktops PCs and printers – every year, which would otherwise be sent to landfill.

The company has now launched Stone 360, a new app that lets organisations across the public, private and education sectors quickly and easily arrange for Stone to pick up unwanted electronic devices and take them back to its recycling centre.

Stone Group's app shown on an Android mobile phoneStone’s customers earn points for recycling e-waste, which can either be turned into cash or increased by 20% when spent on new or refurbished technology from Stone. The company offers its own branded desktop, notebook and other IT devices, manufactured at its Stafford headquarters. They also configure, deploy and support a full range of branded solutions across the IT and AV landscape. When customers earn enough points, Stone will also plant a tree as part of its partnership with the National Forest.

Around 82% of electrical equipment ends up being sent to landfill, incinerated or illegally traded, instead of responsibly recycled. The EU alone disposes of 160,000 laptops every day, although nearly three-quarters of those could be recycled or reused. Research indicates the UK could save 2.8 million tonnes of CO2 emissions if we recycled unwanted small electricals instead of storing them or throwing them away.

Dionne Barlow, Director of Marketing, Ecommerce and Partner Management at Stone, said: “We recycle a lot of technology that’s old, unwanted or unsafe from across the UK, but nothing we collect goes to landfill. Our app is empowering companies to protect the environment in a very easy and stress-free way.”

One example of an organisation who has utilised Stone’s circular approach to IT is the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). Stone delivered a significant transformation to the DWP’s meeting room infrastructure, and removed and recycled the equipment they no longer required. This offered significant cost savings for the DWP, with the solution approximately £280,000 cheaper than the quote provided by their existing supplier.

Stone also enabled Northgate, a company that rents out light commercial vehicles to businesses, to save thousands of pounds with their IT asset disposal service. Stone collected hundreds of old PCs and laptops from more than 80 Northgate sites across the UK. As with all their recycling collections, Stone picked up the devices in secure, GPS-tracked vehicles fitted with CCTV and load weighting. Once back at their Stafford HQ, Stone erased all the data from the devices using the same standards as the Ministry of Defence. The entire process met GDPR regulations and Stone provided Northgate with full audit reports and certificates of disposal.

M365 tools such as Teams allow Stone to collaborate and communicate with businesses that need e-waste to be recycled, while Planner lets Stone’s 310 staff stay on top of the demand for the company’s services. Power BI visualises the data, allowing managers to see business-critical information. This is all hosted on the Azure cloud.

“We wanted a platform that’s easy to use but secure, as this is key for a busy business. Microsoft excels in those areas,” Barlow added. “Microsoft’s tools have been critical to our success, especially during the pandemic this year. M365 allowed us to easily transition from working together in an office to working remotely. It meant that our business and our customers haven’t noticed any changes in 2020. Using the Microsoft stack has meant we have been agile enough to continue business as usual.”

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