Demand for refurbished PCs is set to outstrip supply for a number of years but manufacturers have been urged to ensure they do not end up in landfill in developing countries.
Research house Gartner has claimed the economic climate has driven demand for second user PCs. Last year 37 million refurbished computers were exported from mature markets to emerging ones and this is projected to rise to 69 million within three years.
Gartner claims 68 million secondary PCs were discarded worldwide in 2007, a fifth of which were located in the developing world. These countries are predicted to face an annual total of 30 million refurbished PCs which need discarding by 2012.
Many developing countries lack the wherewithal to dispose of used PCs safely and a "universal enforcement mechanism" should be introduced and effectively policed, claimed Gartner.
"Although repair and reuse are worthy goals, without efficient enforcement of worldwide legislation and controls, they are simply loopholes allowing for greenwash," said Charles Smulders, managing vice president at Gartner.
Meike Escherich, principal research analyst for Gartner, added: "Without action, OEMs will find that an increasing number of their PCs will either end up in landfills or find their way into illegal or badly set up private workshops for dismantling. Neither will be advantageous for a vendor's green credentials."
Gartner stressed that up to 70 per cent of natural resources used up during a computer's lifecycle are accounted for in manufacturing and reuse is a valuable environmental strategy. But Escherich urged big-name vendors to ensure they adhere to the same standards in developing countries that they do in the western world.
"After all, nothing exposes greenwash more dramatically than an A-branded PC found dumped in a developing country in Asia or Africa," she added.
Security firm set to become part of acquisitive Shearwater Group
Distributor merges three northern sites into one new hub in Warrington
Activist investor puts forward five director candidates as turmoil continues at security giant
Nima Green asks what is driving public cloud uptake in Germany