A new alliance wants to advance the e-waste discussion and help organisations around the world to identify the best practices to deal with electronic equipment disposal.
With the ever increasing speed of the information technology evolution, electronic equipment is becoming obsolete far too quickly. The newly formed partnership between the Green Grid – a global authority on resource efficient information technology – and the international Solving the E-waste Problem (StEP) think tank, announced today, wants to address the problem of responsible end-of-life procedures for office equipment. This move towards equipment recycling represents a new step for the Green Grid, which, so far, has been focusing mostly on improving energy efficiency of data centres.
"There have always been two separate discussions in the world of IT and data centre efficiency, with one side focused on energy emissions, and the other concerned about material and waste recycling. With this new alliance, we are essentially merging the two camps for the first time to offer leadership on e-waste concerns like the global community has never seen before," said John Pflueger, Dell representative and Board Member of The Green Grid. "StEP offers deep understanding of the issues and can help guide our research around e-waste as we work to create new metrics that will help our members stay at the forefront in the area of IT resource efficiency."
The Green Grid and StEP have previously collaborated on a new metric, Electronics Disposal Efficiency (EDE), that will help end-users of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) measure their success in the responsible management of outdated equipment. The Green Grid is currently running a pilot project with organisations interested in the EDE metric.
In many companies, information technology managers are actively seeking disposal solutions for a generation of electronic equipment – deployed during the digital boom of the 1990s – that is rapidly reaching the end of its operational life. By working with StEP, which is hosted by the United Nations University, The Green Grid aims to put organisations on track to better understand and manage the issue.
"We're very enthusiastic for these two important organizations to unite and experience the benefits this initiative will bring to the e-waste industry," said Ruediger Kuehr, Executive Secretary of the StEP Initiative. "Both The Green Grid and StEP have advanced efficiency across the different sides of the IT equation. Although we are only at the very beginning of the e-waste discussion, we are taking crucial first steps by helping organisations identify and understand all their waste streams, and find the best disposal pathways."
E-waste is a pressing global problem. Around 50 million tonnes of electronic equipment is being discarded each year. Only in Europe, 100 million phones are being disposed of annually with less than 20 per cent being recycled. The rest of these devices end up in landfills and incinerators. According to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the amount of e-waste produced could rise by as much as 500 per cent over the next decade in some countries, such as India.