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Building a Greener Future: A Guide for Reducing Tech Waste

Building a Greener Future: A Guide for Reducing Tech Waste

 

It was a meeting of minds and passion that began this collab for good. One of our CEOs Richard met ICEX CEO John at a business networking group and the rest, as they say, is history. Aligned in values, business and tech Richard and John vowed to work together when they could.

Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors are a hot topic in any business right now. So if you are considering what you can do to move your business forward you’ve come to the right place. 

As a certified B Corp, IT Naturally is all about highlighting and celebrating sustainable practices that make a real difference. As part of B Corp month, we’re teaming up with our friends and partners at ICEX, a company aligned with the principles of the UN Global Compact to bring you valuable insights into sustainable IT management. 

So in this collab for good – get ready for a deep dive into the world of IT asset disposal and why it matters more than you might think. 

The Importance of Responsible IT Asset Disposal 

Let’s start with the basics. 

In a world where technology evolves faster than the latest fashion trends, what happens to all those old devices? This is where responsible IT asset disposal comes into play. It’s not just about getting rid of old tech; it’s about doing it in a way that’s kind to our planet and valuable to others. 

The UK is set to become the world’s biggest contributor to e-waste as early as this year according to a report by Resource.co. This underscores the critical need for sustainable practices in managing and disposing of IT assets. With an ever-increasing volume of electronic waste, the responsibility to dispose of technology assets in an environmentally friendly and secure manner becomes more crucial than ever. 

Passing Over Unlock Keys: Why It Matters 

You know those security locks on your devices? They’re great for keeping data safe, but they can be a real pain when it comes to repurposing tech.  

ICEX highlights a crucial aspect often overlooked in IT asset disposal – the removal of security locks like Company Managed Enrolment Programs, Cloud, and BIOS locks on PCs, laptops, phones, and tablets. 

Why is this so important?  

These security measures, while essential for protecting data, can force companies like ICEX to recycle rather than repurpose devices. The ability to reset machines to factory settings is hindered unless the devices are unlocked. It’s not just about easing the process for the disposal company; it’s predominantly for the sake of the planet. 

When locks are removed, it opens up the possibility of reusing and repurposing these devices. This approach aligns perfectly with the principles of the Waste Hierarchy, favouring reuse over recycling. Repurposing extends the life of technology assets, reducing the need for new production and thereby cutting down on waste. 

So, when returning your technology assets, remember that ensuring no locks are left on the machine is a small step with a big impact. It’s not just a technical necessity; it’s an environmentally responsible practice. By enabling these devices to be repurposed, we contribute to a more sustainable and circular approach to technology management. 

The Waste Hierarchy and IT Asset Disposal 

Now, let’s talk about the Waste Hierarchy. It’s a simple yet powerful way to look at managing waste, and it’s something both ICEX and IT Naturally live by.  

Picture it as a pyramid (below): at the top, we’ve got waste prevention (the best option), and at the bottom, disposal (the last resort). Everything we do with outdated tech should aim to move up this pyramid. 

The waste hierarchy

Waste Prevention: A Top Priority 

At the top of the Waste Hierarchy is waste prevention.  

This means stopping waste before it starts. For IT assets, this could involve extending the life of equipment through maintenance or choosing durable, long-lasting products. We encourage a shift in mindset – think ‘long-term use’ rather than ‘disposable.’ 

Reuse and Repurpose: The Middle Ground 

Next up is reuse and repurpose.  

This is where ICEX shines. Instead of discarding old tech, they give it a new lease on life. By repurposing devices, they not only reduce waste but also provide affordable tech solutions to those who need them. It’s a win-win – for the environment and digital inclusivity. 

Recycling: Turning Old into New 

When reuse isn’t an option, recycling is the next best thing. This involves breaking down old tech and salvaging valuable parts. It’s not just about keeping e-waste out of landfills; it’s about recovering resources that can be used again, reducing the need to mine new materials. 

Disposal: The Last Resort 

At the bottom of the pyramid is disposal – something we and ICEX strive to avoid. But when it’s the only option left, it’s vital to do it responsibly, ensuring harmful components don’t end up damaging the environment. 

Practical Steps for Businesses 

So, what can your business do to manage IT assets sustainably? Start by partnering with experts like ICEX for IT asset disposal. Embrace a policy of reuse and recycling, and when purchasing new tech, think about its entire lifecycle. Remember, every small step can make a big impact. 

Here are some additional tips to consider: 

  • Regularly Assess IT Inventory: Conduct periodic reviews of your IT assets to identify which ones are underutilised or obsolete. This helps in making informed decisions about disposal or repurposing. 
  • Implement a Device Leasing Programme: Consider leasing devices instead of purchasing them. This can ensure that you’re always using up-to-date equipment and that the disposal and recycling are handled by the leasing company. 
  • Educate Your Team: Train your employees about the importance of sustainable IT practices. Awareness can lead to better handling and usage of IT assets, prolonging their life. 
  • Choose Environmentally Friendly Products: When purchasing new technology, opt for products with a lower environmental impact, such as those made with recyclable materials or designed for energy efficiency. 
  • Develop a Sustainable Procurement Policy: Create guidelines for purchasing IT assets that prioritise sustainability. This could include criteria for energy efficiency, durability, and ease of recycling. 
  • Explore Refurbishment Options: Before disposing of IT assets, see if they can be refurbished. Often, a simple upgrade can extend the life of a device. 
  • Donate or Sell Used Equipment: If assets are still functional but no longer needed, consider donating them to educational institutions or non-profits, or sell them to second-hand markets. 
  • Track and Report IT Asset Disposal: Keep records of how IT assets are disposed of or repurposed. This can help in reporting your company’s sustainability efforts and making improvements. 

How IT Naturally Helps Businesses Reduce IT Waste 

At IT Naturally, sustainable IT management is a key focus, and we offer several services to help businesses reduce their IT waste: 

  • Service Desk and Service Management: Our expert teams provide proactive support to optimise your IT infrastructure, ensuring that devices and systems run efficiently, thereby reducing the need for frequent replacements and disposals. 
  • End-User Computing (EUC): By managing and optimising end-user environments, we help in prolonging the life cycle of devices, reducing the need for premature disposal. 
  • Cloud & Data Centre Services: Our cloud solutions are designed to maximise efficiency and reduce physical hardware dependency, leading to less IT waste. 
  • Network Management: We ensure that your network infrastructure is robust and well-maintained, reducing the likelihood of hardware failures and the resultant e-waste. 
  • Cyber Security: By protecting your systems and data from breaches, we prevent potential waste caused by cyber incidents, which often necessitate complete hardware overhauls. 

Collab for Good 

It was a meeting of minds and passion that began this collab for good. One of our CEOs Richard met ICEX CEO John at a business networking group and the rest, as they say, is history. Aligned in values, business and tech Richard and John vowed to work together when they could. 

“Being a B-Corp looking after our environment is a top priority for IT Naturally. As an MSP we are in a good place to make a difference and influence not only how our own waste is minimised and disposed of, but also that of our customers by ensuring it always goes through the process described in this article. Taking a little extra time to do the right thing is not always easy, but I urge everyone in our industry to minimise waste and consider re-use before recycling and simple disposal. We love working with ICEX who specialise in avoiding recycling and disposal and look forward to a long partnership.” – Richard Gardner, CEO IT Naturally 

“Waste reduction is my life’s work and my passion. To put it simply, I hate waste. This is why I got into the ITAD sector. I saw that as technology was developing more and more, E-waste would become a serious problem going forwards. We have to do more. The UK is due to overtake Norway to become the worst contributor per capita to E-waste! 

“This is why we want to push for more collaboration within the IT industry. IT Naturally is a perfect collaborator. Mostly, it is the way we complement each other as we are both heavily involved in tech and both want to greatly improve sustainability in the tech industry. 

“As IT Naturally looks after your kit whilst you are using it – we can get the best out of it when you no longer are – whether that is being able to revive it to elongate its life and put it back into the market or, if necessary, to recycle the parts where the equipment is no longer viable. We also provide relocation services where your kit is still usable by your team but needs securely relocating and you require a partner who can take on the data liability during transportation – that’s where we come in. 

“We also both fully comprehend the huge importance of data security, recognise each other’s passion for prioritising the planet and the people living on it and so here we are!”Dr John Russell, CEO ICEX Group 

Embracing sustainable IT management isn’t just a nice to have; it’s essential for businesses that care about their environmental footprint. 

By working together, we can keep moving forward in B Corp month and beyond. 

Let’s make sustainable IT management a standard, not an exception.  

For more information on sustainable tech disposal, reach out to ICEX 

Want to partner with a B Corp MSP that puts people and planet first? Get in touch with our friendly team to chat about your IT needs. 

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