The technological advancements in just the last one hundred years have completely transformed how the people of the world live their lives. In just the 21st century, the mobile phone industry has gone from the Nokia 3310, to smartphones as powerful as some computers. Computer components have only become smaller, as they have become more powerful. The first official “personal computer” was created in 1975, in less than 50 years, laptops have more RAM, processing power, and storage than the super computers worth millions in the 1980s.
The way technology has changed and improved in such a short space of time has not been all positives, and has brought with it some unfortunate truths. The materials used to make IT equipment uses plastics, and rare minerals. Many of which have been sent to landfill, and won’t ever be reused. Many companies offer trade ins when purchasing new devices and equipment, but there is still more that needs to be done. With new business computers being released every year, it doesn’t take long to have a stockpile of older machines. These machines are still useful for other businesses on a budget, but you can’t just give them away or sell them directly without removing any sensitive data.
What benefits are there to recycling IT equipment properly?
Reclaim rare materials
As mentioned earlier, there are several materials used in making computer components that are non-renewable. Rare Earth Elements are still more abundant than gold, for example, but are harder to separate and therefore cost a lot more to make them useable. Which is why recycling and reusing these elements is crucial to a more sustainable eco system. It is estimated by the Rare Earth Technology Alliance, that only 1% of the Worlds rare earth metals are currently being recycled. Which means almost all of them are going to landfill.
Guarantee data protection compliance
Even If recycling older IT equipment wasn’t better for the environment, if storage goes to landfill, it could be accessed by unauthorised personnel. The data you have stored on customers has to be secure, and deleted properly, as per GDPR guidelines. Beyond being the right thing to do, if the data isn’t destroyed, and is accessed by someone else, you could be fined. Making it potentially more expensive not to recycle your equipment properly.
Many consumers today aren’t going to be happy with just a good product, they want to align with brands who have similar ethics to them. The way customers can now interact with brands on Twitter, has created an almost instantaneous feedback loop. Companies can gauge what people want from them, beyond just the basics of a package. Having a proper recycling scheme in place will go a long way with your more environmentally conscious customers.
All in all, everyone has a responsibility to creating a better future, recycling IT equipment is just one piece of a larger plan for long term sustainability. As long as your company recycles consistently, and properly, you can be part a piece in a larger movement towards a better World for everyone.