The impact of e-waste (e-waste) on our environment is a major concern – especially as companies around the world increase the use of electronic devices to fuel innovation and attract new talent. According to a sustainability study by SOTI, a leading provider of mobile and IoT device management solutions, today nearly 7 in 10 IT leaders in the US are replacing devices prematurely, and even more so, nearly half (41.6%) are replacing cell phones, handhelds and more Wearables simply for a shiny newer model.
Changes can be made in IT departments to reduce corporate e-waste and adopt green IT solutions that reduce the negative impact of IT operations on the environment. As Shash Anand, vice president of product strategy at SOTI, points out, it starts with management’s knowledge of a device’s lifespan. The longer the device’s lifespan, the fewer hardware replacements IT departments need to make, saving executives’ capital and having a positive impact on the environment. For those looking to make the necessary changes, Shash recommends the following small steps to adapt and adjust their sustainability practices.
Increase the lifespan of mobile devices with their batteries
When organizations need to manage a mix of new and older devices among their workforce, their natural inclination may be to simply upgrade the older devices. But just like with a car, regular maintenance and service can keep equipment clean and help extend its life.
The same idea applies to enterprise mobility management (EMM) solutions, according to Anand. He adds, “Having visibility into each device and a snapshot of what it takes to extend battery life helps teams save capital and begin properly maintaining the life of their devices at scale. Some tips for better battery management include reducing idle time, using data to predict when batteries will fail, whether they will last a full shift when they need to be replaced, and using battery dashboards to monitor charge cycle counts and temperature changes. “
Avoid shipping hardware
Due to the shift to a more hybrid work model, employees are scattered across different locations or working remotely, making the process of repairing a device cumbersome with a lot of back-and-forth between the user and the IT department. This is not only time-consuming, but also unnecessarily burdens the environment with packaging, shipping and fuel costs.
The new way, as Anand describes, involves using a diagnostic intelligence tool that helps avoid shipping costs, reduce the environmental footprint and save time for the IT department and the end user. For example, when equipment fails, it’s easier, faster, and greener to diagnose that information remotely rather than sending it back and forth. Not to mention that most of the time it is a software issue.
Recycle and dispose of e-waste properly
As the SOTI report outlines, 51.6% of IT leaders will replace tablets and laptops prematurely. And when asked for without reason, 38.2% will replace cellphones, handhelds and wearables – with wearables leading the list with 71% of the most discarded devices.
With the latest and greatest devices coming out every few months, it’s common for executives to think of the company needs the latest technology. Often there is simply no need to update a device just because it is the newest. Here are some ways leaders can reuse or recycle devices instead.
- Share devices with employees: Are there other departments within the organization that could use and reuse the devices? Perhaps replace a paper and pen process with a mobile device.
- Donate devices that are no longer needed: Are the devices no longer functional for the employees or the company, but are they still in perfect condition? Find a nonprofit organization or small business that could benefit from using these devices. Make sure you delete them and log out of all accounts before handing them over to ensure security and privacy.
- Research where in the community electronics can be recycled: If the devices cannot be reused or donated, make sure you recycle them properly. The simplest step IT departments can take to reduce e-waste is to ensure that all electronic equipment is disposed of properly.
- Just like washing bins before they go into the recycling bin, it’s important to clean and dispose of your previous device before recycling. EMM solutions can easily erase their devices to ensure no corporate data is lost.
Green IT is good business for IT departments, for companies and of course for the planet. Sustainability initiatives like Green IT don’t have to be cumbersome. With some attention paid to sustainability, IT departments can add new and evolving goals to their sustainability practices, while executives increase current low annual budgets and reduce the number of device swaps.