How to Integrate Circular Economy Principles with Data Center Sustainability
Going green requires maintaining data center sustainability with strategies such as circular economy models.
With the massive growth of the digital economy in recent years, the need for businesses to adopt practical and efficient methods of improving the sustainability of their data centers has perhaps never been greater. Circular economy models are the key to achieving positive results, thus making them an essential consideration by businesses operating in the US and worldwide.
This March 18th 2022 is Global Recycling Day, which provides an opportunity to look at what your business is currently doing to reduce and recycle e-waste. In this article, Sean Sheehan, CEO of Wisetek, outlines how Circular Economy principles can be integrated with data center sustainability to improve CSR for organizations.
Why Data Center Sustainability Matters
Data centers globally consume an immense amount of electricity, estimated at around one per cent of worldwide energy consumption (205 terawatt-hours). Therefore, improvements to data center resource management and more efficient energy management can improve sustainability within organizations.
“While global data center computing has quintupled from 2010 to 2018, this energy consumption estimate has not marginally increased”. Why has this happened? “There are many reasons,” says Sheehan, “such as organizations increasingly moving towards cloud-based data storage that is often better optimized and more energy-efficient than traditional data centers.”
Furthermore, data center infrastructure management has also drastically improved and has become far leaner in recent years. Network hardware and IT assets now offer much greater efficiency than infrastructure from even a few short years ago.
Trends in Data Center Sustainability
Big Tech giants in the United States are leading the way in resolving data center sustainability issues. “In their Carbon Negative Pledge, Microsoft announced in 2020 that by 2030 they will be carbon negative. By 2025, Microsoft is committed to powering its data centers with 100% renewable energy.”
Google has also pledged to go 100% carbon-free and the company is on course to meet this goal. This follows their commitment to a zero-carbon footprint, all while improving their computing output six-fold from 2016 and with an impressive 81% diversion of e-waste from landfills. They have also reduced e-waste by purchasing refurbished inventory (23%) for their data centers as well as reselling 8.2 million components from data centers to secondary markets.
“Microsoft and Google are two notable examples of how solving sustainability issues in data centers can be achieved with flying colors. In addition to reducing e-waste and their carbon footprint, both tech giants are also consistently achieving PUE performance levels higher than the industry average.”
IT Asset Recycling & Reuse for Sustainable Data Centers
There are many methods of improving sustainability within data centers. Efficient heat management and water consumption are major considerations, as is the proper disposal of end-of-life (EoL) IT assets and network infrastructure. “Data Center Services from IT asset disposition companies such as Wisetek can reduce the often large quantities of e-waste during Data Center Decommissioning, for example.”
The WEEE Forum estimated that in 2021 alone, there were nearly 54.7 million tonnes (about 60.3 million US tons) of e-waste generated. It stands to reason that reducing e-waste is a necessary component of operating a sustainable data center. “Wisetek helps organizations achieve data center sustainability with our commitment to a Sustainable Earth and through our Zero Landfill Policy.”
Furthermore, organizations can leverage the ROI on EoL IT assets by having them refurbished and remarketed, thus helping to maintain a working circular economy. “Wisetek operates the Wisetek Store in the European market to sell used laptops, cellphones, and other electronics that have been refurbished.”
Hard Drive Disposal and the Environment
Hard disk drives (HDDs) are among the primary methods of data center storage with an enormous market share growing at around 7.0% CAGR from 2014 to 2021. “This figure is expected to grow to 11.2% CAGR from 2021 to 2029, which will inevitably mean that more EoL IT assets will need proper disposal.”
Disposing of hard drives requires secure Data Destruction to ensure that all sensitive data is rendered completely irretrievable. Moreover, Hard Drive Disposal should also take into consideration the environmental impact of these electronics.
“The best way to address the e-waste problem now and in the future for hard drives and other media is to retain a reputable IT Asset Disposition company such as Wisetek within your organization.”
Improve Data Center Efficiency & Sustainability with Circular Economy Strategies
To improve data center sustainability, circular economy models are integral in the overall strategies and policies of organizations in the United States and worldwide.
“Several major manufacturers have already begun implementing their own circular economy models,” such as Dell, who announced in 2020 that their goal of recycling two billion pounds of electronics was fulfilled a full year ahead of schedule. “Dell has also begun accepting used electronics from customers, even if the equipment was not manufactured by Dell.”
Wisetek is a pioneer in using a Circular Economy model for ITAD solutions for clients in the US and worldwide. Our IT Solutions help organizations maintain data center sustainability, all while reducing e-waste, maximizing ROI on redundant IT assets, and maintaining regulatory compliance. “Our fully auditable processes also ensure data security and thus enable organizations to maintain compliance with data protection laws all while protecting against a major risk vector for data breaches,” says Sheehan.
Data Center Sustainability Pays in Dividends
Perhaps many years ago, the cost of ‘going green’ simply wasn’t justified at the expense of profits. Even then, a case can be made arguing against that. In any case, today’s increasingly digitized economy stands to benefit from data center sustainability both for the environment and in terms of financial benefits.
Rather than imposing added costs to organizations, ITAD solutions from an ITAD Company such as Wisetek actually yield savings through maximum ROI on EoL IT assets as well as by mitigating the risks of data breaches (and the costs associated with data breaches, which can be in the millions of dollars).
According to Accenture, unlocking the economic growth potential of circular economies worldwide can yield up to $4.5 trillion by 2030. In other words, as Sheehan says, “sustainable strategies such as circular economy models are a gold mine for organizations that have the added benefit of lessening the environmental impacts of e-waste.”
Wisetek is Your Sustainable ITAD Partner
Wisetek is a leading provider of data center services as well as pioneers of the circular economy for ITAD services. We strive to always assist organizations in meeting their sustainability goals, so please feel free to get in touch to learn more about our robust range of services.
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