The impact e-waste is having on our environment is a major concern. Many components in these products are toxic and do not biodegrade easily – if at all. For instance, computer monitors normally contain hazardous materials such as lead, mercury and cadmium, while nickel, beryllium and zinc and can often be found in circuit boards. Because of these substances, recycling and disposal of e-waste is vital for enterprises and the environment.
The number of ways in which enterprises use electronic devices is increasing exponentially. IT departments across the globe are becoming more aware of their contributions to e-waste and are looking for ways to reduce their footprint.
But what changes can be made in IT departments to reduce corporate e-waste footprints that can easily integrate into Green IT solutions?
What is green it? and why should you care?Find out in our blog
1) Increase the Lifespan of Mobile Devices...And Their Batteries
While smartphones increase in quality and sophistication, their average lifespan decreases. This could be due to a variety of factors, such as the introduction of new operating systems or the device no longer being capable of performing its intended functions.
An older device doesn’t necessarily mean they’re obsolete. There are ways to increase the lifespan of mobile and IoT devices; often by accounting for how end users and enterprises are taking care of them.
Consider this: If you drive a new vehicle, and your partner drives an older model, it would be easiest if both vehicles could be serviced at the same mechanic. When enterprises have a mix of new and older devices to manage among their workforce, their natural inclination may be to simply update the older devices. But if the car still runs and still performs, why replace it?
The same idea applies to your mobile devices and that’s where SOTI can help – the ability to manage new and old devices while having visibility into each device, plus providing a snapshot of what’s needed to increase the lifespan of each. Just as it’s vital for the longevity of your vehicle to be properly maintained, maintaining your fleet of devices will help increase their lifespan.
Just like a car, regular maintenance and service, using approved device accessories (chargers, docking stations, cords, etc.) and keeping devices clean will help extend the lifespan of enterprise mobile devices, even in challenging environments with many users.
One other option to extend the lifespan of your mobile devices is to use devices which are built to last. Rugged devices can last up to five years, compared to the lifespan of an enterprise mobile device, which lasts approximately two and a half years. Ask yourself what’s preferable and better for the environment: replacing a device twice in a decade or four times?
That’s the device. But what about its battery?
Battery failure is a leading source of frustration among mobile workers. And the solution could be as simple as changing charging habits. Often times devices are left on the charger for several hours which can actually damage and drain the battery over time causing it to not function at its best. Encourage workers to unplug once a device has reached 100%. Batteries only have a limited number of charge-discharge cycles, so the best thing to do to increase the battery lifespan of mobile devices would be to make each cycle last as long as possible.
Here are a few tips for better battery management:
- Optimize their lifespan by using battery dashboards to monitor charge cycles, temperature and more
- Turn on the device’s battery saver mode
- Find out what the most power-hungry apps are and close them when not in use
- Use data to predict when batteries will fail and proactively replace them
- Shorten the idle time before the device goes to sleep and/or locks
2) Avoid Shipping Hardware
If your personal device has an issue, it’s easy to walk into a local mobile device or electronics shop to have it repaired. If a corporate device has an issue, the days of walking over to IT to have it repaired have changed. Due to the pandemic, there has been a shift to a more hybrid working model. If workers are scattered across various places or working remotely, getting a device repaired is cumbersome with a lot of back and forth between the user and the IT department.
Based on the old way, the end user ships the device to corporate IT, and then once the issue is resolved, IT sends it back to the user. Not only is this time-consuming, it’s also an unnecessary burden on the environment with packaging, shipping, fuel costs, etc. Repairing damaged electronics is also typically cheaper than replacing them, especially for larger or more complex devices.
The new way involves using a diagnostic intelligence tool, like SOTI XSight. This helps avoid shipping costs, reduces the environmental footprint and saves time for the IT department and end user. Is the issue with the device as simple as needing an upgrade, or replacing a draining battery that cannot hold a consistent charge? It’s easier for the IT department and the worker to upgrade software or an accessory versus replacing the device
When possible, mobile device shipping costs should be taken out of the equation. When devices go down, it’s easier, faster and greener to diagnose this information remotely versus shipping it back and forth.
3) Recycle and Dispose of E-Waste Properly
With the latest and greatest mobile devices rolling out every couple of months, it’s easy to get swept up in wanting (or thinking the company needs) the latest tech. Often there’s just no need to upgrade a device simply because it’s the latest one. If the tech is functioning and allowing your organization and workers to perform their duties, why waste time and money on upgrades? Here are some ways to reuse or recycle your devices:
- Share devices among workers: Are there other departments within the organization who could use and repurpose the devices?
- Donate devices no longer needed: Are the devices no longer working for workers or the company, but still in good working condition? Find a non-profit or small business who could benefit from using these devices. Be sure to wipe them and log out of any accounts before handing them over to ensure security and data privacy is maintained.
- Research where in the community electronics can be recycled: If the devices cannot be reused or donated, be sure to recycle them properly. The simplest step IT departments can take to reduce e-waste is to ensure any electronics are disposed of properly.
If you do have to replace your device, here’s a pro-tip. Just like washing containers before they go into the recycling bin, it’s vital to clean and clear your previous device before you recycle it. With Enterprise Mobility Management (EMM) solutions, like SOTI MobiControl, enterprises can easily wipe their devices clean to ensure no corporate data is leaked.
Another pro-tip – it’s important to understand how employees are engaging with and working with their mobile devices. Are workers happy with the devices and how they’re functioning for them to perform their duties? Instead of upgrading because a device is a certain age, survey workers to understand their technology needs. Make it a part of IT planning to regularly survey workers to understand their relationships with the tech they use to perform their jobs. Create a custom app for workers to be able to easily share this information with the IT department and take the guessing out of worker satisfaction with their devices. Along with proper monitoring with SOTI XSight, this can give insight and steps for IT departments to troubleshoot possible device issues.
Want to learn more about Green IT, e-waste and what your IT department can do to make positive changes for the environment and your bottom line? Visit soti.net/sustainability.