Embrace the Circular Economy Philosophy with IT Asset Recovery

  • Feb 21, 2018

Embrace the Circular Economy Philosophy with IT Asset Recovery

By Jason Jellie | Executive Vice President

Is your company part of the “Circular Economy?” An alternative to the traditional linear economy of make, use and then dispose, the goal of the circular economy is to keep resources in use for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life.

Circular economy practices have gained in visibility through the efforts of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, which recognizes both companies and industries that are circular economy innovators. The foundation recognizes organizations that are particularly adept in quantifying the economic opportunity of a more circular model and developing approaches for capturing its value.

Circular economy in the IT industry

One of the key principles of the circular economy model is that companies should maintain, refurbish and upgrade resources to maximize their lifetime and give them a second life in the marketplace.

This could mean that a product is accompanied by a maintenance service to maximize its lifetime, including a buyback program and supporting logistics system. Secondhand sales or refurbishing programs also fall within this element.There is perhaps no greater opportunity for the circular economy than in the IT industry.

Over the past decade, many asset disposal firms have entered the marketplace. These organizations are happy to take your technology inventory, and give you some small return on your investment while also pledging secure disposal and guaranteeing compliance.

True IT sustainability

That’s great—the materials that can be recycled are recycled, while the rest is responsibly disposed of. But that’s only one link of the chain—true IT sustainability is established when the still-usable (and valuable!) equipment is responsibly refurbished and sent back into the marketplace.

That’s where an asset recovery program comes in. Certain providers will not only recycle but also refurbish and then remarket your used equipment. Asset recovery eliminates the complicated steps that businesses used to have to go through to dispose of technology equipment.

Here's an example:

A large company is doing a major upgrade of their servers, ultimately taking 10,000 RAID (redundant array of independent disks) servers out of service. That company can work with a conventional IT recycler, hoping to minimize its compliance risk. But often that recycler has no idea how to identify where there could be value because they don't have the refurbishing expertise or the facilities to effectively extend the life of that equipment. Some of the equipment will be recycled, and the rest destroyed.

In contrast, a certified asset recovery vendor has a dedicated facility featuring technicians with expertise in identifying and refurbishing IT inventory.

Tell me more

In addition, the vendor would empower a sales team that knows the demand for specific refurbished RAID servers in the market, and a maintenance program that is dedicated to making sure that equipment is functioning properly throughout its lifecycle.

If the company in the scenario above sends its 10,000 units to an asset recovery vendor, approximately 40 percent of those servers could be refurbished and remarketed at approximately $150 above and beyond the value of each server.

That’s potentially an extra $600,000 that can be recouped by the company, with the added value of reducing its environmental footprint and supporting circular economy practices.

This can all be accomplished without compromising compliance or security, as true asset recovery providers also have relationships with established downstream recyclers to ensure that the equipment that can’t be refurbished is handled properly, from decommissioning to dismantling to destruction.

Forward thinking

Employing the circular economy process is increasingly important to Fortune 500 companies and multinational corporations as the call and need for active sustainability policies grows every single year.

Forward-thinking companies can play an important role in identifying sustainability opportunities while also creating win-win-win value for themselves, their customers and the environment.


To read the original article, visit Jason Jellie's LinkedIn page.