Green IT: Beyond the hype

Green IT: Beyond the hype

Recycling needs legislation

If cost savings driven by server consolidation and reduced power requirements are the poster child of green IT, recycling (or the lack of it) is the dirty little secret. According to Clean Up Australia, 75 per cent of the 3 million computers purchased in this country every year will end up in landfill.

The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) has been running a recycling trial in Victoria called Byteback in an attempt to demonstrate how a scheme could be rolled out nationally. However, despite its best efforts, the Association has only been able to get 10 IT vendors signed up on the dotted line. Beyond this small number of multinationals that are prepared to take a leadership position, others are reluctant to incur recycling costs for fear of ceding competitive advantage.

So what’s going to improve the situation? PKBA’s Peter Kazacos said government had a major role to play and could make it mandatory to demonstrate recycling credentials as part of the tender process. This point was developed by Fujitsu’s Alison O’Flynn.

“We still don’t have legislation in Australia around the disposal of IT assets, which is an issue, but Fujitsu is a founding member of the Byteback program,” she said. “You can recycle 97 per cent of a computer and use the plastic for fence posts that go to farmers affected by drought.

“According to some [global] numbers there are going to be 800 million PCs that need to be disposed of in the next five years so our industry has a significant back-end challenge. I’d like to see the cost built into the procurement strategy so disposal of assets becomes part of the total cost of ownership.”

When Datacom’s Andrew Peel pointed out that this would only work if it was applied across the board, O’Flynn said this was why legislation was needed.

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