5 Ways to more Environmentally Friendly Business Technology
When we think about the impact of technology on our environment, we often think of it in the positive. Advances in technology have enabled us to go green in lots of areas, like reducing the amount of paper we use, and improving food and energy management so that there’s less waste of precious resources.
But one thing we don’t think about enough, is the negative impact that the technology we use has on our environment. While it technology can help to reduce waste, it also creates waste.
It is absolutely possible, and easier than you might think, for your business to make more environmentally conscious technology decisions. Not only is it possible, there are some great benefits for your business when you make greener tech choices.
Here are five ways you can get started.
#1 Buy better quality devices
Better quality devices last longer. So, don’t buy a laptop to last you 3 years, to simply throw it away and buy another.
It’s bad for the environment because it creates excess e-waste, but it’s also bad for you and you and your productivity.
A quality commercial grade business laptop or desktop can last 5+ years, even 10 if you get lucky and are happy to invest in a few upgrades along the way.
Ultimately, they save your money as you don’t have to pay for a technician to setup a ew computer every few years, and commercially graded laptops and desktops are nicer to use from day one. Better screens, nicer keyboards and better batteries (that don’t die in 3 years). They’re also often faster, and the build quality is definitely better.
Buying better is smarter, for your business as well as the environment.
#2 Don’t replace. Upgrade instead.
If you follow tip #1 and buy smart, then every few years you’ll be able to upgrade your equipment instead of replacing it.
A new hard drive, some extra RAM, a fresh install of Windows and it will feel like a new machine, minus the e-waste.
You can also hand older computers down to less power-hungry users. If you’re a lawyer, you need speed, portability and battery life. But you might have someone in the office who doesn’t need the same power and portability. So, replace your laptop after a few years, get your old one spruced up with a nice fresh software install, perhaps a few hardware tweaks and pass it on.
They’ll feel like they’re getting a new machine, you get a new machine and everyone is happy – including the environment!
#3 Move to the cloud
Modern cloud datacentres are designed to save both money and electricity.
The big warehouses, full of computers, use newer technology (which uses less electricity), often run on at least some solar power or other renewable power source, and are optimised to be used more fully than having your own server in the office.
If you purchase your own server, you probably don’t have the option of running it off renewable energy and you probably aren’t using its full capacity for even a fraction of its lifespan. So, it’s sitting there, only doing the work you ask of it and using lots of electricity.
That same server in a datacentre could be powered with renewables, as well as sharing its resources with 5 different businesses, doing what each business needs it to do, all at the same time. This would reduce e-waste by more than 75%.
If you want even more environmental incentive to move to the cloud, then you’ll want to know that there are also datacentres these days being built underwater to capitalise on the cooling effect of the world’s oceans, even further reducing electricity usage. Not so keen on your server being underwater? Well remember that quality cloud infrastructure is completely redundantly backed up. Let’s say an underwater datacentre was offline for whatever reason, other datacentres would take over running your cloud server instantly. So it’s not nearly as risky as it perhaps sounds!
I hate to mention the obvious here, but when any technology in your business comes to the end of its life, then you really should recycle it.
For smaller devices like hard drives, USB sticks, mobile phones, tablets and other old tech devices, your local Officeworks has a great recycling program and you can simply drop off your old devices (that have been wiped of data) in store. You can even recycle your used printer ink cartridges to stop them from going to landfill.
There’s also plenty of recycling programs available for larger technology items. Drop off your old tech, and they’ll take it apart and recycle it.
#5 Work from home
I’ve been wondering for years why there is so much debate over a few extra billion dollars for the NBN and better internet structure, yet when we build a new tunnel, or bridge or transport link for many billions more, it’s considered a necessity.
We all have to travel to work don’t we?
Well, if the 2020 COVID pandemic has brought one positive, it has to be that we have successfully demonstrated that we don’t have to travel to and from the office 5 days a week and can just as easily and productively work from home for at least part of our work week.
How many billions in road and rail infrastructure, and how many carbon emissions could working from home save?
If you’re wanting to make environmentally friendly tech choices in your business, then you simply can’t go past using technology to make flexible working a part of your business model.
And if you work in a business where the boss has said it’s time to come back to the office 5 days a week, then tell them you object on environmental grounds! (Even if the top reason is that you simply like working in your pyjama pants!
It’s very easy to make small changes that have a huge impact.
It can be easy to think there’s not much you can do to reduce your environmental impact when it comes to the technology in your business. But I hope you can see from this article, that it really isn’t hard to make some small changes, that will have a huge impact for our planet, and for your bottom line.
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