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Here’s how data centers can be more sustainable in 2021

- 5 minute read

In 2021, the pressure is mounting on businesses to become more environmentally responsible and contribute to the circular economy. Yet, making the switch to planet-friendly practices is easier said than done. When it comes to data center management, there are many best practices to consider before you even begin to think about its carbon footprint and environmental effects. In IT, organizations are held accountable for protecting data and sharing it in the right, most responsible way.

Still, organizations need to get a handle on the environmental impact of IT, utilizing innovative methods and services where they can. This blog discusses four ways data centers can be more sustainable in 2021 and where to go for sustainable support.

  1. Memory testing solutions
  2. E-waste recycling
  3. Battery recycling
  4. Data center decommissioning 

1. Memory testing solutions

Memory testing assesses the functionality of your Dynamic Random Access Memory Device (DRAM), giving insight into DRAM quality as well as failure analysis if your DRAM isn’t working. A DRAM is responsible for storing your data and segregating it, making it an integral part of every data center. 

As a result of memory testing, weak DRAM devices can undergo post package repair (of which >65% are successful). Alternatively, devices that are still failing can either be sent back to their original equipment manufacturer or processed via R2 Certified Recycling. Therefore, any outcome of memory testing is sustainable. 

Working DRAMs with good quality Dual In-Line Memory Modules (DIMMs) are sent back to its data center. All other DRAMs are either repaired or disposed of in a way that doesn’t have adverse effects on the planet. 

All organizations are advised to engage in memory testing to get a clearer picture of DRAM functionality (and in turn, better protect their data) and seek support in the form of a responsible service that retires old IT in an ethical, eco-friendly way.


2. E-waste recycling

As electronic waste is the world’s fastest-growing domestic waste stream, it’s never been more important to combat this waste with a clear conscience — namely, via e-waste recycling services

E-waste consists of anything electronic that's unwanted or at the end of its life. Items such as home appliances, DVDs and televisions are all classified as e-waste. From a business perspective, computers, hard drives, cell phones, laptops, printers, copiers and network hardware are all things to consider.

If an electrical product is of no use due to poor functionality or a complete inability to fulfill its needs, it needs to be disposed of. More importantly, is how it’s disposed of. 

E-waste recycling attempts to 'close the loop by providing a new purpose for old IT. Depending on the device, electronics can either be remarketed as a whole or stripped for their core components. These materials then find new homes or at the very least are recycled according to Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) standards

For companies, e-waste isn’t a labor-intensive task. It’s an easy way to protect your brand from reputational damage while minimizing its environmental impact. 


3. Battery recycling

Most of us know battery recycling is more complicated than average household or office waste. Due to the toxic chemicals and heavy metals within them, batteries are designated as hazardous waste by most governments, although specific recycling instructions vary from country to country. 

Although it may be harder to recycle batteries correctly, it doesn’t make doing it any less important. If anything, battery recycling is more important, raising legitimate concerns around soil contamination and water pollution. What’s more, different types of batteries must be disposed of in different ways, from lead-acid batteries (the most common form of commercial battery) and lithium-ion batteries to silver oxide batteries which contain a small amount of mercury. 

The complexity of battery recycling means, more often than not, experts will need to oversee your firm’s battery disposal. Ideally, battery recycling should focus on product purity so elements like cobalt and lithium can be shelved for reuse in the production of new batteries. 

Perhaps the most innovative way to do this is through a black mass process. In black mass recycling, batteries are essentially crushed, sieved and sorted to retain black mass — a mass that contains all the valuable metals. In this way, battery recycling can become as efficient as possible, stripping down cells to their core components for second use. 

A further strategy is chemical refinement, offering similar results through a series of filters. 

These sophisticated, sustainability procedures are carried out in purpose-built battery recycling facilities which are now more accessible than ever with facilities dotted around the globe. These facilities, as well as helping to extract and redeploy renewable resources can also house batteries for future use acting as an energy storage system


4. Data center decommissioning 

Finally, there’s no better service to ensure your data center is as sustainable as it can be than full-scale data center decommissioning — the grandfather of IT equipment disposal. 

This eight-month-long process takes a rigorous review of your entire data center, documenting all IT while depositing individual devices to new data centers and safely disposing of others, where necessary. 

Data center decommissioning encompasses a number of data center best practices from asset tagging to on-site data destruction. It’s the ultimate way to introduce your data center into a circular economic model while cutting data center costs, streamlining storage and gaining peace of mind knowing that all of your data is properly protected. 

As established ITAM (IT Asset Management) professionals with a firm focus on sustainability, TES offers all of the above services for any type of business globally. We’re more than just your IT guys. We’re a full-service waste partner, helping you to achieve your carbon footprint goals as well as your data compliance responsibilities. 

You can rely on us for standard services — and for more customized consultation too. We advise organizations on the buying of new equipment as well as provide counsel about your surface-level IT strategy. 

Speak to a TES ITAM expert today to hear more about what it’s like to partner with us. 

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