With an ever-increasing global focus on sustainability and environmental protection, a trend is emerging in the information technology (IT) field that seeks to reconcile these factors into computing. Called Green IT, this movement looks for ways to reduce practices harmful to the environment and make IT more friendly to the planet.
It is an alarming fact that 70% of toxic waste can be attributed to discarded electronics. Computing has historically been a resource-intensive enterprise: from the amount of power required to run systems to the physical materials needed to both construct and operate them, one can easily argue that dated and inefficient computing technology exacts a significant toll on the environment.
The Green IT movement hopes to change this by promoting sustainable practices and technologies with an inherent understanding that while computing is vital to our society, it does not necessarily have to be a harmful or wasteful exercise.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways Green IT is taking root.
Green IT: The Shape of Things to Come
Today, more and more companies are embracing Green IT as an operating philosophy for a number of reasons. In addition to promoting environmental health, following green practices can also reduce costs.
There are three main pillars to Green IT:
- Improve energy efficiency
- Reduce hazardous materials
- Increase the use of recycled materials
As technology improves, manufacturers can engineer computing equipment to take advantage of power management tools that help to reduce consumption. These can include:
- Processor-level memory caching
- Dynamic voltage scaling
- Power gating
- DVFS scheduling
As well, experts are redesigning data centers to take advantage of power schemes that greatly reduce consumption.
These techniques have the net effect of making IT equipment much more energy efficient, which acts as an incentive for businesses to adopt this technology by reducing their energy costs.
Reduce hazardous materials
IT professionals can be exposed to hazardous materials every day. In particular, lead and mercury are prevalent in circuit boards, an ubiquitous component in virtually all electronics. Cables may be coated in PVC, including bromine and phthalates, substances linked to an array of health issues.
If not disposed of properly, these materials can easily leach out into the environment, further some the toxicity of our surroundings.
Manufacturers such as HP are making strides in producing equipment that reduces the number of hazardous chemicals and materials thanks to a growing awareness of their impact.
Increase the use of recycled materials
Many companies are turning to refurbished or repurposed equipment to supplement their computing systems, reducing the amount of electronic waste that enters landfills.
According to the U.S. EPA, only 12.5% of electronic waste is recycled. However, as recycling becomes more of a viable option and organizations are becoming more open to using repurposed equipment, that figure should hopefully trend upwards.
Green IT, as a movement, is slowly gaining steam. As organizations come to see the benefits of using green technology and practices, sustainability and energy reduction should one day become standard.
At PCM Canada, our Recycling and Disposal services manage the end-of-life process of your technology hardware and IT assets while meeting strict internal, governmental, and third-party compliance standards.
PCM Canada is an award-winning strategic IT services provider for mid-tier and enterprise-level organizations. From enterprise software licensing to providing managed IT services, PCM Canada offers solutions that move companies forward. Contact us to learn how our services can be put to work for your organization.