CAPE TOWN – There is a growing trend to rather refurbish than recycle, businesses are finding new ways to maximise profits through green initiatives.
The days of simply disposing of old IT equipment are over, the responsible thing today is to implement a sustainable IT program by engaging with a reputable IT asset management company that can provide the effective recovery, reuse and retirement of redundant IT assets.
The analyst group Zion Market Research predicts that by 2022, the IT Asset Disposition (Itad) market will have reached a value of $18.7 billion (R259bn). This is an increase of more than 65 percent from 2016 when the global IT asset disposition market was valued at $11.3bn.
A recent Gartner report identified a number of factors making refurbishing even more relevant and complicated than before. Data security is one of the key factors, it has now become a board level issue since being regulated by laws such as the Protection of Personal Information (PoPI) Act and General Data Protection Regulation.
Gartner identified three tasks Itad executives should pay special attention to: data sanitisation, transportation logistics and recycling. It stated that these three represented the greatest risk in the Itad process, and they should be handled by an experienced, well-vetted Itad service provider.
Xperien chief executive Wale Arewa said this was a trend that would favour professional Itad companies with the necessary know how, licences and processes. "We can take old computer equipment and refurbish it to become part of the circular economy. Alternatively, we could break them down into components that can be reused, recycled or disposed of responsibly."
"This is not the kind of thing a company should attempt to do in-house. If done correctly, the refurbished equipment could be reused or sold, increasing the ROI on your computing assets. Either way, companies can now show value for computer equipment they thought was worthless," he explained.
Even though there is a nominal fee for providing these services, reputable vendors will ensure a good return and the recovered funds could go back into one's IT budget to support other projects or buy more new equipment.
Arewa says recycling is not always the answer, it should be the last resort. "Billions of electronics reach the end of their life each year and recycling isn’t nearly as effective as one thinks.”
“The only solution, and also a good way to reduce the environmental impact of recycled electronics, is to keep them around for as long as possible. Repair must always be the first option, it extends the life of electronics and ultimately optimises the planet's resources,” he concludes.
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