Why Electronics Recycling Must Be Part of a Data Center Checklist

Graphic showing a gray. background, overlay of recycling icon, and a photograph of a data center with servers lined up in a row in the background and the multicolored wires coming out of one in the foreground.

Surging demand for cloud technology is leading to an increase in data centers. Analysts predict that the data center market size will swell to $615.96 billion from 2021 to 2026, with the U.S. feeding most of that growth. 

These data centers have a significant impact on the way we communicate, work, and store information. Many businesses were able to go remote during the pandemic because they could rely on cloud infrastructure. 

The expanding data usage means that data centers are now responsible for managing more electrical equipment than ever before, equipment that cannot get thrown away when it breaks.  Electronic waste (e-waste) is a primary environmental concern, and data centers have an essential role to play in helping us reduce it. 

The Relationship Between Data Centers and Recycling 

Data centers use a lot of electronic equipment; when it is no longer valuable, it must be recycled. The range of equipment that needs to be recycled includes servers and blades, storage systems, networking devices, power supplies, cooling systems, and more. 

Recycling these components not only helps reduce the environmental impact of e-waste but also makes economic sense. Recycling often lets companies recoup some of the equipment’s cost as some components and materials can be sold.

Data centers must adopt a systematic approach to recycling their equipment to ensure nothing goes to waste. A firm e-waste management policy covers the collection, transportation, sorting, and disposal of all electronic waste.  

Why Electronics Recycling Is so Important

E-waste is the fastest-growing waste stream in the world. The WEEE Forum, an international organization dedicated to managing waste electrical and electronic equipment, estimates the global e-waste output will hit 70 million metric tonnes by 2030.  

E-waste contains toxic materials, such as mercury and lead, which can have serious health consequences if not handled responsibly. The waste often ends up in foreign landfills, which can leach toxins into the soil or groundwater. Or, the waste might be burned or put into an incinerator, where it emits pollutants into the air.  

 For example, Agbogbloshie in Ghana is the world’s largest e-waste dump. Up to 10,000 workers dig through the trashed electronics to find things they can sell. One common practice is workers burning the rubber off of wires so they can access the copper. 

When e-waste isn’t responsibly disposed of, it ends up in places like Agbogbloshie. Unfortunately, electronics recycling gets less attention than other forms of recycling. One study found that three in five young people have never heard of e-waste.

Business owners want to be responsible but may need to be made aware of the problems with e-waste.  They throw old electronics like computers into the trash because they don’t know that there’s another option. 

Business owners can inadvertently contribute to the global e-waste problem even when trying to recycle. Many bad actors claim to properly recycle e-waste when in reality, they send the waste abroad.  Responsible electronics recycling with a trusted company is the only way to ensure that e-waste won’t end up in dumping sites like Agbogbloshie. 

Make Recycling Your Priority 

Data centers need to be at the forefront of electronics recycling if we’re going to make an impact on global e-waste. When data centers replace their equipment, for example, when they upgrade their servers or storage systems, responsible recycling should be top of mind. 

Recycling also matters when a data center closes. Equipment that can’t be repurposed at another location must get incorporated into your recycling plan. 

A certified electronics recycler like ViaTek Solutions can help. We aid data centers with managing their e-waste responsibly and ethically. Our services include pickup, sorting, dismantling, and recycling electronic waste.  

We have a zero-landfill policy and guarantee that no e-waste will be exported outside North America.  

Get Started Today

Data centers have the power to help reduce the global e-waste problem. Data center owners can help create a cleaner, healthier planet by taking responsible steps to recycle their old equipment. 

To get started, contact ViakTeK Solutions and learn more about our electronics recycling solutions. We’ll help you develop an e-waste management program. Let’s work together to reduce global e-waste and make our planet a better place. Contact us today. 

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