Redemtech Calculates Environmental Impact of PC Reuse

By: Redemtech  09-12-2011
Keywords: Electronics, Change Management

Columbus , Ohio (April 22, 2008) —

Redemtech, a leading provider of technology change management and IT asset disposition (ITAD) services, demonstrated the environmental impact of raising U.S. business reuse rates for desktop and laptop computers to the level of the rest of the world. Increasing reuse from the current 39 percent to 48 percent would save enough energy to power 653,000 households for a year, or enough to meet the electricity needs of every home in Phoenix, AZ, America’s fifth largest city.

In addition, this change would also reduce carbon emissions by the equivalent of that produced by 462,000 passenger cars in a year and reduce solid waste equal to the weight of 2,490,000 bricks.

“One of our clients was able to achieve over $9 million in savings and reduce their carbon footprint equivalent to removing nearly 25,000 cars from the road for a year,” said Robert Houghton, founder and president of Redemtech. “That got us thinking about what would happen if more businesses took action to extend the lifecycle of technology systems.”

According to the Redemtech analysis, an increase in reuse of just 1 percent, from 39 percent to 40 percent, would create savings equivalent to:

  • The electricity required to power 72,600 households for a year.
  • Greenhouse gases produced by 51,300 passenger cars in a year.
  • Hazardous waste equivalent to the weight of 276,600 bricks.

Idle Computers Add to the Problem
These numbers do not include the computers sitting idle in U.S. businesses as a result of personnel changes, reorganizations and selective technology upgrades. Industry research indicates that as many as 150 million obsolete PCs are currently sitting idle in warehouses, storerooms and closets. These computers, if recovered properly, can offset the acquisition of new technology, be resold or find a second life in a non-profit through charitable donation.

“The useful life of a computer configured for business is eight years, while the enterprise lifecycle is typically between three and five years,” said Houghton. “Extending amortization beyond three years yields lower monthly costs, while extending the environmental impact over a longer period means less impact at any point in time. Improved utilization makes sense financially and environmentally.”

Organizations seeking to reduce their environmental impact, while generating a positive financial return, need to first gain visibility into what they are replacing, and what they have in storage. The next step is to establish business rules that enable automation of the processes for evaluating and processing these assets. Assets that can not be reused internally should be resold or donated to charity, rather than stockpiled in storage rooms where their value deteriorates and they represent a security risk.

Keeping Computers out of the Waste Stream – and Groundwater
Finding opportunities to extend equipment life keeps it out of the waste stream, which generates a number of environmental benefits. A 9 percent increase in reuse would keep 1,292,000 personal computers out of the waste stream. This equals nearly 28 million pounds of electronics, or the equivalent of nearly 116,000 cubic yards of landfill space, and includes 765,000 pounds of toxic metals such as mercury, lead and cadmium.

When equipment does reach end of life, care must be taken to ensure it is recycled responsibly. A large volume of aging computing equipment is currently shipped overseas to developing countries that are not equipped to handle the hazardous wastes. This waste is ultimately leaching into soil and groundwater.

In fact, much of the electronics collected on Earth Day may actually end up polluting the Earth. It’s estimated that as much as 80 percent of electronics targeted for recycling is actually shipped overseas where usable components are salvaged in poor conditions, exposing workers to contaminants. Remaining materials are dumped in landfills or incinerated, allowing hazardous chemicals to leach into groundwater and streams, or emitting dioxin into the air.

Redemtech has a strict zero-landfill, zero-incineration, zero-export, zero-prison-labor policy, and an increasing number of Redemtech clients are implementing employee collection programs to ensure that the personal computers of their employees are handled using the same processes and policies as the corporate assets.

The Redemtech analysis is based on analyst estimates of 40 million replacement PCs entering the secondary market from U.S. businesses in 2007. Of these, 39 percent are reused. Reuse includes internal redeployment, resale, or charitable donation. The remainder is placed in storage or disposed, even though approximately 75 percent are estimated to be four years old or less. Environmental equivalencies were determined using the Electronics Environmental Benefits Calculator (EEBC), developed under cooperative agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

About Redemtech
Redemtech Technology Change Management (TCM) services help organizations increase IT asset utilization and assure regulatory compliance during technology transitions. Redemtech provides an outsourced solution to TCM that uses best practices and automated technologies to implement and manage processes for deploying, redeploying and decommissioning computer systems. Redemtech clients can realize a 40 to 70 percent reduction in asset recovery and disposition costs, while achieving 100 percent warranted data security and environmental compliance assurance. Redemtech is a wholly owned subsidiary of Micro Electronics, one of the largest privately held technology companies in the United States.

The information in this article was current at 06 Dec 2011

Keywords: Change Management, Electronics

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