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Circular Economy and Used Data Center Assets: a Cost Savings

circular economy

May 11, 2018

 

Considering data center or IT upgrades? Start incorporating the principles of the circular economy into your business model.

While embracing a new business philosophy may seem insurmountable, incorporating some new ideas and best practices to your IT decisions will yield savings. With an increased awareness of where your IT assets will end up, you’re better positioned to make good purchasing decisions.

Understanding circular economy’s application to data centers

The concept of circular economy may sound abstract, but it’s really just a lifecycle — based on an approach to doing business that advocates reuse whenever possible.

circular economy system diagram

Image credit: Ellen MacArthur Foundation

In this depiction of the circular economy “value circle,” created by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, rebuilding capital is the focus. This can include financial, manufactured, human, social, or natural capital, with the goal of ensuring enhanced flows of goods and services.

While holistically embracing this philosophy might require overhauling your business practices, it offers some enticingly straightforward principles for managing your IT assets as a profit center.

The IT lifecycle

To apply the circular economy framework to IT practices, let’s start with management.

Ideally, your organization needs a team-based approach to IT management. Procurement, operations, and finance are all players, in addition to IT staff. With input from all of these areas, your team will oversee tracking of existing IT equipment — deployment, maintenance, warranties, and lifespans — as well as acquisition of new items.

This team-based approach ensures that there’s a connected conversation throughout the IT lifecycle.

Watch for points of disconnection, like budget decisions that render one area responsible for funding but not oversight. Simply tracking your IT assets, their warranties, and lifespans in a way that is visible between operational units will help you reduce waste. Once you know what you have, you can decide to repurpose, update, or consolidate.

To achieve a solid ROI for your IT equipment and ensure your data center is meeting sustainability goals, consider disposal upfront. Disposal is often neglected in the standard business approach. But with the circular economy in mind, you can plan for it from the outset.

Instead of just looking to excess equipment immediately in response to a new purchase, other factors like market demand for your excess equipment can come into play. With this approach, you are poised to access the ideal markets and get the best prices for your gear.

Circular economy gains

The circular economy offers a scalable method for cost avoidance and recovery. Large or small, your organization will benefit from implementing these principles and working with an ITAD partner committed to doing the same.

The days of take-make-dump are over. Making incremental changes to align with the principles of circular economy will help your organization realize gains in sustainability and ROI.

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