Recycling has become a part of our lives day by day. Taking proactive steps towards sustainability goals by managing our own waste and waste, whether it’s sorting our waste or choosing reusable products, is already part of our daily behavior.
This behavior is causing a widespread shift towards a circular economy, described by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation as a system that removes waste and pollution and circulates products and materials at the highest value, both of which can be used in homes such as shops. on IT equipment.
We are in a time when brands and companies are considering different ways to motivate consumers not only to recycle the right items, but also to make them more often. But for this to happen on a daily basis, organizations need to consider how they can better embrace recycling pathways and apply circular principles to their operations, and how moving forward can benefit them. As digital infrastructure expands into the workplace, managing tech teams becomes more and more critical.
size of the problem
E-waste is the fastest growing type of waste in the world. According to UNEP, the world produces up to 50 million tons of electronic and electrical waste (e-Waste) per year, heavier than any commercial airliner aircraft ever produced. If we continue in this line, it is predicted that hybrid fuel production will be 120 million tons by 2050.
But perhaps more surprisingly, the annual cost of this e-Waste, including computer equipment and electronic devices such as computers, laptops, phones, flash drives and tablets, has already exceeded $62.5 trillion. Yet less than 20% of these resources are properly recycled.
This means that opportunities for companies to incorporate circular principles into their IT operations are lost at both the environmental and business level. Taking a more sustainable approach when considering lifecycle management of a company’s IT assets can yield numerous benefits.
Three benefits of recycling and safe disposal of IT assets for circular technology
1. They can help you achieve your sustainability goals
Now more than ever, companies are under pressure to tackle sustainability challenges and directly address climate change. Organizational resilience research conducted with executives by Economist Impact revealed that sustainability is one of the top five business priorities, along with areas such as digital transformation and cybersecurity. As companies develop and communicate their sustainability goals, companies that embrace sustainable solutions will reap the most profits.
New hardware manufacturing accounts for more than 70% of carbon emissions in the IT industry4 and e-waste recycling services that dispose of IT assets in commodity categories such as those offered by Iron Mountain. The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Forum found that for every tonne of electronic waste recycled, approximately 2 tons of CO25 emissions could be avoided. From hyperscalers to corporate offices, companies have the ability to make a tangible impact not just on their own operations but on the planet as a whole.
2. They save money
this circular economy It is based on the idea that discontinued assets should be treated as valuable assets.
By safely recertifying and remarketing retired equipment, companies can recover maximum end-of-life value from their technology assets through remarketing or redeployment. Although products may reach the end of their life cycle, their use is not mandatory; A client that Iron Mountain worked with to safely dispose of its assets generated approximately £500,000 in potential annual revenue from resales6.
For IT assets that cannot be given a productive second life, value can be obtained through recycling. Precious materials commonly used in electronic devices such as gold, silver, and copper can be extracted and reused. For example, 15 to 16 tons of copper, 340 to 350 kg of silver and about 34 kg of gold7 can be mined for each million mobile phones.
3. They can keep your data safe
In addition to the environmental challenges associated with e-waste, businesses can face a number of security risks if end-of-life IT assets are not managed responsibly. These assets may contain sensitive and confidential data which, if breached, could result in serious fines and cause serious damage to your reputation. So it’s no surprise that the Economist Impact survey ranks cybersecurity as one of the top priorities for companies. When looking for a partner to support the divestment of IT assets, it’s important to do your research to make sure their services are secure and compliant.
Some of the key questions to ask yourself are: Is there a secure chain of custody that allows you to monitor assets as they are processed? Will you receive an auditable data destruction certificate? Are your IT assets disposed of ethically? Responsible and compliant? For example, any service you use in the EU must comply with the European Directive on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE).
Today’s circular economy
The end of life of computer equipment should be an opportunity, not a challenge. Responsible and safe handling of IT asset disposal is a win-win solution and helps meet some of the most important business priorities, from sustainability to cybersecurity, while creating an internal revenue stream to accelerate future growth. As sellers, consumers, individuals and businesses, we cannot reverse the impact of e-waste on the environment, but by embracing a more circular future for IT, we can maintain a more sustainable system for the products we use. .
Thomas Hollander, EMEA Director of Secure ITAD iron mountain
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