This is a genuine prospect. In this article, I will explain the concept, the impact on your business’ budget and the impact on the environment.
With computers, we buy what they do, not what they are. The things we need to get our jobs done include access to processing power, memory, storage, access to the Internet, etc.
Businesses typical replace their laptop and desktop computers every 3-5 years. By leveraging computer power in the cloud and repurposing your existing computers with an alternative operating system your computers can be used for 8 years and beyond.
The most sustainable computers are the ones you already have. To reduce environmental impact, the best policy is to extend their life and use for as long as possible.
Surely, We’re Going to Need New Computers at Some Point?
Yes, your business is going to need more computers at some stage. However, they don’t need to be new ones. Computers can be refurbished and remanufactured to a very high specification. This allows most of the resources that went into the original machine to be reused. From an environmental perspective, refurbished or remanufactured PCs are very low impact. Furthermore, if your computing power is in the cloud, you don’t need a high spec machine on your desk.
There’s Already Enough Computers on the Planet
Between your existing computers and the supply of refurbished/remanufactured ones, you probably never need to buy another new computer.
The Environmental Impact
100bn kgs of CO2 are Generated Annually from Manufacturing Computers
There are between 350 to 400 million laptop and desktop computers manufactured every year. This activity generates something like 100bn kgs of CO2.
40 Tonnes of eWaste Every Day in the UK Alone
Every computer that goes to landfill creates about 2kgs of eWaste. An estimated 20,000 of them are disposed of every day in the UK.
190,000 Litres of Water to Make One Computer
The process to mine and extract the metals and minerals that go into making a computer uses water very intensively. To make one computer uses the equivalent of 700 years of drinking water for the average person.
1,200 kgs of Earth Dug Up
Raw materials like gold, silver, aluminium, copper, cobalt, chrome are all needed to manufacture computers. In order to get to these precious metals and minerals requires lots of digging. Per computer, around 1,200kgs of Earth are extracted.
An estimated 60 tonnes of gold is mined every year to make new computers. A huge amount of it ends up in landfill when computers are disposed of at the end of their life. In fact, there’s more gold in 1 tonne of e-waste than in 1 tonne of gold ore.
There is also an important ethical question to consider here. Working conditions in mines are notoriously poor. People work in dangerous conditions with little or no social protections or rights. Evidence of both slave and child labour have been uncovered. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, there are some 40,000 children employed in Cobalt mining. Some as young as 6.
How Much Would You Save if you Never Had to Buy Another Computer?
Take a business with 200 computers. If they replace their computers every 3.5 years, they will have spent £1m on hardware alone over the course of a decade. The 3–5-year replacement cycle not only wastes resources, it wastes money.
Think of all the other uses your business could find for £1m pounds.
If you’re planning on buying new computers for your business. STOP!
Think of the impact on the environment. Think of the impact on your budget.
There is another way.
Get in touch with Cognition Cloud for a free assessment to find out how much you can save – both in terms of GHG emissions and actual cash.