In September, 2012, International Data Corporation (IDC) released a new multi-client study, “IT Asset Disposal and Recycling: United States Enterprise Practices and Outlook 2012-2013”. The study finds that more than one third of the companies recently surveyed do not use proper disposition methods, often adding unjustified cost and complexity to their hardware recycling practices.

The IT hardware disposition function remains undefined among many organizations, an “orphaned” function that is neither the full responsibility of IT departments nor procurement or other related functions. Because of this, the use of irrational disposition processes remains high. For instance, the use of company staff to manage donation to charity, adding to cost, risks, and loss of resale opportunity, is practiced by more than 40% of the organizations surveyed.

Likewise, the practice of storing assets is alarmingly high as is the use of municipal waste services, which leave companies at legal risk of violating U.S. environmental regulations and preventing them from finding cost containment opportunities through resale and other solutions.

The IDC study found that when organizations attempt to incorporate IT Asset Disposal best practices, they tend to focus on data security compliance and cost reduction, rather than environmental concerns or storage allocation, or future planning.

IDC says that a number of trends are likely to influence IT hardware disposition practices over the next few years, further impacting the industry itself. “Among the trends to watch are the movement toward cloud computing that could lead to lower procurement of classic assets, as well as the emergence of the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), which will create a whole new set of challenges on the data security and compliance front.”

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Approximately only 15% of the gold in e-waste is being recovered in recycling processes. The Global e-Sustainability Initiative and the United Nations University recently released a report that states that electronic waste contains 40-50 times the amount of gold in ore mined from the ground.

According to the report, between 2001 and 2011, the electronics industry as a whole went from using 197 to 320 tons of gold. Although the computers made today use far less gold than the computers of twenty years ago (computer chips often have small gold micro plated pins rather than solid gold wiring), we are now making a substantially large amount of electronics and far more products have become computerized. Household appliances, toys, and telephones all have microchips, most of which have some gold.

Approximately only 15% of the gold in e-waste is being recovered in recycling processes. That means there is an enormous amount of gold that is not being recovered. It also means there is just as large of an amount that is being needlessly mined. The report specifies, “Accumulating in these growing mountains of e-waste, however, is a treasure trove of precious and other metals, as well as plastics – deposits of precious metals alone that are 40-50 times richer than the ores being mined in the ground, according to experts at the first-ever Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) and StEP e-Waste Academy for policymakers and small businesses co-hosted by the United Nations University (UNU) and GeSI in Accra, Ghana last week.

Ruediger Kuehr, Executive Secretary of the Solving the E-Waste Problem Initiative states, “One day—likely sooner than later—people will look back on such costly inefficiencies and wonder how we could be so short sighted and wasteful of natural resources.”

E-waste should be viewed as a commodity, rather than a nuisance. The plastics, glass, and metals all have value- either as a mined substance, or as a recyclable material.

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If you are reading this, you probably already know what cloud computing is. The term has been gaining more momentum and attention over the last few years, as data processing operations continue to be outsourced to server farms instead of being powered on site.

Because we are now such a mobile world, software delivered over the cloud looks and acts as robust as programs that reside directly on personal computers, but is accessible from most devices and at any location. Consequently, some IT sector analysts are predicting the death of the personal computer while others believe it will simply become another device to access the on-line world. Increasingly, the engine of the IT sector is composed of large-scale data servers that are driving the cloud-computing revolution forward. With regard to energy, cloud computing should result in lower costs for users and fewer greenhouse gas emissions by streamlining information-crunching into single facilities on speedy machines.

It also means less in house equipment and smaller corporate data centers. The resale of all of that equipment can help offset the costs associated with cloud computing, such as licensure, or be put back into greener IT options. Several leading American tech companies have already made large investments in clean-sourced data centers. Yahoo! has an operation in Washington that draws from a power supply with renewables making up an estimated 88.5 percent.

The cloud certainly seems to offer other significant cost savings. In 2010 Pike Research found that cloud computing could lead to a 38% reduction in worldwide data center energy use by 2020, compared with the projected growth of data center energy consumption without cloud computing developments.

The other positive side of the environmental impact is that recycling and re-use of data center equipment packs a wallop of an emissions footprint savings. Very old servers can be recycled for the metals, while newer equipment can simply be resold.

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Everyone at AnythingIT is proud of our certifications. This past year, we became a certified e-Stewards company, adding to R2 (Responsible Recycling), ISO, Small Business, and a preferred government vendor. All of those benefits our clients and ensures that we remain 100% committed to the environment, as well as data security requirements.

Recently, AnythingIT was awarded the first class D recycling permit in Bergen County. This will have a positive impact on New Jersey, both in job creation and allowing local municipalities to recycle their electronic waste locally.

To celebrate and launch this new chapter, AnythingIT and the Bergen County office of Economic Development had a ribbon cutting ceremony. Acting Governor Kim Guadagno joined Senator Bob Gordon, County Executive Kathleen A. Donovan, Fair Lawn Mayor John Cosgrove, and other local officials for the ribbon-cutting.

In a press release sent from NJ Acting Governor Kim Guadagno’s office, “ AnythingIT’s decision to expand their services to include e-waste materials is yet another step toward reducing New Jersey’s reliance on landfills,” said Acting Governor Guadagno. “Removing obsolete electronics from landfills addresses the environmental hazard these products pose, while also spurring new business opportunities that create jobs and fuel our economy.”

Since taking effect on January 1, 2011, the state’s Electronic Waste Management Act has dramatically increased the amount of e-waste that is recycled in New Jersey, keeping potentially hazardous materials out of landfills and incinerators.

“Recycling of e-waste is taking hold across the state, and is steadily becoming an environmentally preferable routine for our residents,” said New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Commissioner Bob Martin. “Computers, printers, TVs and other electronic devices can no longer be placed out at the curb for pickup. They must be taken to specially designated e-waste recycling drop-off points conveniently located throughout our municipalities and counties or to retailers that accept these materials.”

Featured from left to right: AnythingIT COO Vlad Stelmak, Senator Robert Gordon, County Executive Kathleen A. Donovan, Mayor of Fair Lawn John Cosgrove, Freeholder Maura DeNicola, Acting Governor Kim Guadagno, Fair Lawn Councilwoman Lisa Swain, and AnythingIT CEO David Bernstein

Featured from left to right: AnythingIT COO Vlad Stelmak, Senator Robert Gordon, County Executive Kathleen A. Donovan, Mayor of Fair Lawn John Cosgrove, Freeholder Maura DeNicola, Acting Governor Kim Guadagno, Fair Lawn Councilwoman Lisa Swain, and AnythingIT CEO David Bernstein

Senator Robert Gordon presents a Senate and General Assembly Citation to AnythingIT

Senator Robert Gordon presents a Senate and General Assembly Citation to AnythingIT

County Executive Kathleen A. Donovan and Acting Governor Kim Guadagno pose in the AnythingIT warehouse

County Executive Kathleen A. Donovan and Acting Governor Kim Guadagno pose in the AnythingIT warehouse

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