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Green, Clean, End-of-Life Machine: A New Way to Dispose of Your Surplus IT Gear


Recently HP announced its new HP Asset Recovery Services. These services allow our customers to properly handle disposal of used IT equipment with environmentally sound methods, among other benefits. 


For the record, I am a mechanical engineer with expertise in energy efficiency in data centers. Why would I be interested in this type of service?


While I spend the majority of my day analyzing energy data and crafting solutions to improve data center efficiency, I also consider myself a steward of the environment. This stewardship must reach beyond the data center facility, and include items such as asset recovery of IT equipment. This is a big part of minimizing the environmental footprint made by our data centers and the equipment housed within.


When looking at this impact, processing of end-of-life IT equipment for resale, reuse, or recycling is absolutely critical for preventing pollution caused by the improper disposal of the equipment. Unless the equipment is disposed using environmentally sound methods (for example, the ones used in HP-managed facilities), a potentially dangerous and toxic situation could arise. The industry has made tremendous headway in this area, but we all still need to work towards reusing (or recycling) as as much as possible.


Consider that, according to Greenpeace:


  • The average lifespan of computers in developed countries has dropped from six years in 1997 to just two years in 2005.
  • Mobile phones have a lifecycle of less than two years in developed countries.
  • 183 million computers were sold worldwide in 2004 - 11.6 percent more than in 2003.
  • 674 million mobile phones were sold worldwide in 2004 - 30 percent more than in 2003.
  • By 2010, there will be 716 million new computers in use. There will be 178 million new computer users in China, 80 million new users in India.

According to HP’s latest Global Citizenship Report, the good news is that HP recovered 160,600 tonnes of hardware and supplies in 2011 including:


  • Approximately 3.44 million hardware units weighing 26,700 tonnes (58.9 million pounds) for reuse and remarketing, nearly 65% returned by business customers.
  • Approximately 133,900 tonnes (295 million pounds) for recycling.
  • More than 60% of recycling volume by weight was returned by consumers.
  • Overall, HP has recovered a total of 1,231,500 tonnes (2.715 billion pounds) of electronic products (for reuse and recycling) and supplies (for recycling) since 1987.
  • We achieved a total reuse and recycling rate in 2011 of approximately 15% of relevant HP hardware sales worldwide.

This is a classic example of the importance of looking at the data center from a holistic, end-to-end viewpoint to understand and appreciate the interdependence of the systems and equipment.


Learn more about HP Energy and Sustainability Management Services.


To learn more about me and how I can help your organization cut power consumption, curb energy costs, and increase equipment utilization, check out my HP Technology Expert profile.

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