No business today, especially in the IT sector can function without technology – after all, if it’s in the name, it’s vital for your success. We all rely on a slew of tools for everyday interactions, remote collaboration, as well as different business processes. From laptops, smartphones, to tablets, printers, and scanners of all sorts, your office is probably brimming with different kinds of equipment you rely on every day. What’s more, we’re all trying to maximize productivity by reducing wasteful activities at every turn.
This is all fine and dandy, but most of that equipment causes the issue increasingly known as e-waste. Although not every country in the world has the necessary regulations and incentives to help and push companies to take action to reduce, reuse, and recycle electronic equipment, you can definitely make a difference. Whether you’re a small organization or a large-scale business, you can take steps and introduce policies within your business that can minimize e-waste from the get-go, but also introduce smarter ways to manage e-waste once it occurs. Here are a few strategies you can keep in mind for your business, especially in IT.
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Start with the base – go paperless
One of the greatest sources of trouble when it comes to waste for IT businesses is the need to use print. If you still print all of your presentations, brochures, other brand materials, and if you print out all contracts and other paperwork, you’re not just increasing paper waste, but also the material used to print: your printer machines and ink cartridges, as well as the cables needed to hook all those tools up to your system.
Start your e-waste reduction by going paperless and thus eliminating one of the main waste culprits right at the source. Move your processes to the cloud and enable your teams to use digital collaboration tools even for creative processes that enable real-time work, instead of taking written notes.
Invest in recycling equipment
Large-scale organizations can often go through their equipment rather quickly, or they simply need new, more advanced models to cover their needs. It’s in such instances that e-waste can become a major issue for the business in question and investing in waste management equipment is the best solution available.
Make sure that your facility has the necessary balers, crushers, and compactors, or any other waste management tools that best fit your business needs. That way, you can prepare and recycle your e-waste properly and keep the process under strict control and under your own roof.
Repair before you replace
How well do you take care of your gadgets and other office equipment? Any amount of reckless behavior can actually lead to faster equipment deterioration, which in turn means that you will need to buy new items fairly quickly. The lifespan of any given tool depends on how safe you keep them, but also on the quality of manufacturing.
In addition to investing in protecting your equipment, make sure that you repair the ones you can before you throw them out. Even if you have your recycling units ready on the premises, do your best to reduce e-waste by repairing and upgrading rather than discarding right away.
Donate, sell, and swap
Even the finest bits of equipment will eventually stop working altogether. Sometimes, even if the phone works, it doesn’t serve its purpose for your particular business needs, or your computer can no longer support the applications you need to run and the software you use on a daily basis. In such instances, donating these tools to others can make a difference in their lives and prevent e-waste in one go.
Go to the manufacturer and check if there are ways to adapt your contract to return the equipment that has served its purpose instead of merely throwing it away, so that you can swap for a newer model (albeit not without covering the difference in cost). You can also sell the equipment to private individuals who cannot afford new laptops or phones, but who could use them for several more years.
Build it into your company culture
The pandemic has reminded us that distance can be a catalyst for closeness, as much as it has challenged us along the way. Even if you have sent your employees home or they’ve worked remotely even thus far, do you set the tone for your business choices and do you hire people with the same values as your business?
Sustainability is an issue of relevance to us all. As such, your employees need to be aware of their role in your company and beyond. Use your company culture to develop smarter e-waste management initiatives, and inspire your employees to take the lead. If they are using their laptops and smartphones to conduct business, you can encourage them to take good care of them, upgrade their software, and make repairs whenever possible before they actually throw them away and buys new ones.
While e-waste is one of the greatest sustainability issues in the world of IT, your efforts to reduce and eliminate waste can be a solid foundation for other green efforts in your company. By taking a new approach to minimizing e-waste and managing it correctly, you can instill the right values in your employees, hire based on those values in the future, and build a legacy of greater sustainability that other companies in the IT world should look up to and continue with pride.
Lauren Wiseman is a marketing specialist and contributor to bizzmarkblog.com. She helps clients grow their personal and professional brands in the fast-changing and demanding market, strongly believing in a holistic approach to a business.