IT equipment is exchanged in ever faster cycles. The question arises as to what happens to the discarded hardware. It takes more energy to manufacture than they consume throughout their lifetime. Around 60% of CO₂ emissions are generated during the production of a PC, server or mobile device and during its transport to the end customer. For this reason, the idea of recycling IT hardware has long prevailed. That’s why you should buy Green IT for the sake of the environment .
How does Green IT work?
There are several ways to make the use of IT hardware more ecological. One variant is their longer use through better maintenance and the occasional renewal of individual components such as the graphics card, the hard disk and the processors. However, there is the opposite tendency to replace the devices completely too quickly, instead of determining the causes of performance losses. The exchange in short cycles is therefore often not necessary, it also costs the companies unnecessarily a lot of money. Nevertheless, it takes place because the hardware is depreciated for tax purposes and updates expire. The second option is to sell fully functional devices that are no longer sufficient to your own requirements to resellers. There is a well-functioning secondary market for used hardware, as can also be seen, for example, in smartphones. Companies and private individuals should therefore look for specialized IT service providers who buy used equipment. Check them out again, repair small things if necessary and then sell them inexpensively to other companies or private individuals who do not necessarily need the latest hardware.
Problems with the final disposal of old devices
When old devices are disposed of as electronic waste, several problems arise. First of all, there is garbage tourism for electronics. The hardware is declared as a used device and illegally exported to developing countries (primarily Africa and India). This has several harmful effects. The devices that are still usable are no longer available to the European economic cycle; in the importing countries, on the other hand, they are dismantled by workers, bypassing modern labor and environmental protection standards. Health and environmentally harmful consequences are inevitable. Another important aspect is the lack of data deletion, which could be precarious for the former owners. Data can almost always be reconstructed. European service providers delete data according to the highest European standards. You use professional erasure software that either overwrites the data multiple times or really physically completely destroys the data carrier. These processes have to be really transparent and with full reporting for those companies that hand over old IT for disposal. So if you have an old PC or server disposed of, you should pay attention to the certification of the corresponding company.
Three methods for discarded old devices
There are three categories for dealing with old hardware:
1. Preparation of still functioning devices
2. Recycling of individual components
3. Disassembly and recovery of raw materials from IT hardware that is no longer usable
Companies and individuals should focus on the first route. Computers can run very long, actually longer than a motor vehicle. There is practically always a customer looking for a super cheap PC. The shortest hardware cycles are actually found on mobile devices, because eight to ten-year-old smartphones really no longer receive support. The second way is consequently the second choice. Only when the PC belongs to the “absolute scrap” category is it finally dismantled. Companies and private individuals should contact certified specialist companies that guarantee environmentally friendly disposal. They also extract the valuable raw materials it contains – an estimated 10% of the material that hardware is made of.