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What about waste?

Carol Ko | Feb. 5, 2009
Show your corporate conscience

Last month, several Gartner analysts announced their top 10 predictions for 2009. Without doubt, the miraculous cost-saver server virtualisation tops their list.

Robin Simpson, research director at Gartner said: From 2009 to 2013, the server virtualisation software market will grow with a compound annual growth rate of 28 per cent, rising from US$1.8 billion to US$6.2 billion.

The research house also forecast the surge in popularity of telepresence in the next three years. It will snatch 2.1 million airline seats annually, and cost the travel and hospitality industry US$3.5 billion yearly.

Corporate recycling

Huge savings for giant corporates indeed.

How about giving a thought to the massive computer waste that they generate each year, together with their vendors and suppliers. That includes servers, laptops, scanners, desktop computers, monitors, printers and a variety of consumables such as printer cartridges, circuit boards, batteries and packaging.

Power users of IT, in both private and public sectors, are huge producers of computer waste at the same time. What attempts have been made to reduce consumption and derive better ways of disposal, other than donating decommissioned devices to charity?

Are any of these enterprises, which mostly have their corporate social responsibility statements in place, collaborating with IT suppliers to recycle consumables?

70 different categories

One of my daily routines is to write about latest IT deployments in enterprises, which organisation signed an agreement with which IT vendor, why the vendor was chosen, and what benefits the organisation gains from the new solution, and so on.

It interests me to write about deployment of cost-saving technologies such as virtualisation and telepresence, but it excites me much more to learn about how some of the IT vendors escalated corporate social responsibility to the level of corporate conscience, by taking an active role in collecting and recycling the computer waste they produced.

In their award-winning Zero Landfill programme, Japan-based Fuji Xerox collected used consumables and broke them down into 70 different categories including iron, copper, plastic and glass for recycling at its eco-manufacturing plant in Bangkok, Thailand.  

Australia salvages 95 per cent waste

In Australia, Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) is the nations leading industry body for the technology sector, and is headed by chief executive officer Ian Birks. One of the associations programmes, called Byteback, is a free computer take-back programme to help people dispose of unwanted computer equipment responsibly.

Under the programme, each company pays for collection and recycling of its own branded product, while the Victorian government in Australia pays for the collection of the remaining non-participant waste. The marketing and promotional costs for the programme are shared between the Victorian government and taxpayers (56 per cent) and the Byteback partners (44 per cent) in the industry.


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