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5 Steps to Green IT
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The greening of the technology industry is a trend that's developing with impressive velocity, and with good reason. According to the Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition, e-waste is the fastest-growing part of the waste stream, and the Environmental Protection Agency estimates e-waste accounts for 2 percent of the municipal solid waste stream in the United States.
There are environmental reasons for going green, but a green focus can also result in significant savings.
The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition estimates there are 500 million obsolete computers in the Unites States, and 130 million cell phones are thrown out every year.
Companies need to create a recycling plan that will address equipment obsolescence. This also includes figuring the costs of recycling into a technology budget.
Over at Apple, officials estimate that the company recycled 13 million pounds of e-waste in 2006, the equivalent of 9.5 percent of the weight of all Apple products sold since 2000. Apple also processes all its e-waste in the United States to ensure that it isn't improperly recycled overseas, where less stringent regulations have been resulted in polluted land, air and water.
Power is costly and those costs can fluctuate unpredictably. Luckily, companies looking to reduce energy consumption have their choice of many new technologies to assist in that effort.
On the hardware side, chip manufacturers have been ahead of the curve when it comes to innovating in ways that will conserve power. Advanced Micro Devices' new quad-core processor, for example, doubles the power output of AMD's dual-core processor yet uses the same amount of energy and thermal power.
Responsible recycling is one way to ensure toxic materials in electronics equipment don't contaminate groundwater, release pollutants into the air or harm employees. But an even better solution is to see to it that poisonous substances such as lead, cadmium and mercury are banned altogether from the manufacturing and design process.