Chris Rodinis

A very successful outdoor clothing company named Patagonia has an unconventional marketing message: “Do not buy our garments unless you really need them and when you do make a purchase of one of our new garments you should donate or reuse the old used garment.”

How simple is that? This makes sense for the environment, the customer and for Patagonia. Why? Patagonia is a private company that is not all about the money. Patagonia is a true industry leader that sets an example about the importance of knowing your purpose in life. Life’s purpose for us is not just to make money, though that is necessary in a modern world; its purpose is much, much, much, bigger than making money. To Patagonia, its purpose is to benefit human beings and the earth as much as possible with “right action.”

Right action for Patagonia is to reduce its carbon footprint where possible, use raw materials that are environmentally friendly and to not to grow fast but to grow smart. That means all corporate actions are scrutinized for their ergonomic and environmental impact. They truly get it when we say: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. The actions of their marketing department prove it.

The best way to reduce is to not buy it unless you absolutely need it. Reducing is simple to understand and more difficult to practice, even though reducing is just common sense.

Reusing, however, requires a more thoughtful approach. If you use your imagination there are infinite possibilities to reuse. In the case of e-waste, used computers, end of life technology and asset recovery, there is an opportunity to donate for charitable reasons. Then there is also the opportunity to redeploy the used components inside the equipment, which is usually an economic win-win for all concerned.

Since there are so many ways to explain the benefits of reuse, let’s just take them one by one. For industry, companies and corporations just being able to identify what you can reuse is a great start. Once identified and acted upon, the companies will probably get a public relations lift because green initiatives get noticed nowadays. True too is that employee morale would get a lift in having a greater sense of meaning and achievement. Typically, a company’s “reuse” standards will also reduce a company’s carbon emissions; which, based on evidence, is correct corporate diligence.

Reuse Plans Pay

Corporate “re-use awareness” pays off in dollars and cents too. The return on investment for typical information technology purchases is calculated using various metrics. One easy fact to understand is that you get more bang for your buck when you reuse at the end of the IT life-cycle.

We all know about green and being sustainable. So being aware of the relative value of e-waste is important. Scientifically speaking when it comes to sustainability of everything and anything, guess what has the most value? Yes, its the e-waste. Scientifically speaking guess what is the most dangerous? Right again, e-waste. The danger exists because of the toxic waste and hazardous materials released while disassembling and processing the used electronic equipment. So by reusing before recycling we have less risk.

A careful plan in IT asset management means when the life-cycle is over the computers will be removed from their current location. With awareness these assets can be reallocated. They can be re-allocated back into to service with a business, person or institution. This reallocation not only stops e-waste dumping into landfills, it creates a new purpose for the machine which in turn enhances tangible and intangible benefits to one’s that need it.

One of the most popular types of reuse is donating used equipment. Throughout the country many states and municipalities give tax breaks and other monetary incentives to businesses that donate. Not only would the bean counters be happy about this, but more importantly, the community located around the company holds it in higher esteem for its support.

Since the days of Teddy Roosevelt, Americans have always practiced the conservation of energy and natural resources. Besides reducing, there is no better way to practice conservation than reusing. Compared to manufacturing and compared to recycling, reusing demands less raw materials, less natural resources, and less power from the grid.

When comparing reusing to other methods of disposal, reusing wins hands down. Reusing is more environmentally friendly than anything other than reducing. By reusing, companies cause less pollution of all types and put less demand on the world’s raw material resources.

Remember too that Zero Waste initiatives are real and exist for a reason. Landfills everywhere are near capacity. Local populations are against building new landfills where they are needed. The EPA is on top of this and has recognized reusing as a way of diminishing carbon emissions and therefore an important element in abating the sustained and increased warming of our planet.

Is Reuse Part of Your IT Asset Plan?

Purely from a benevolent point of view, companies have been altruistic in the past when donating computers. This form of re-purposing computers for emerging markets is a big help in places where new computers are too expensive. This form of reuse is the most noble.

Promoting the idea of reuse is not new. In fact, until recently everybody practiced reuse of everything for obvious reasons. If the “reuse” market or the popularity of reuse declines for any reason that would be bad news for the environment and humans. When reusing old electronics is less popular, landfills would overfill with toxic substances and hazardous waste.

Reuse creates jobs and can be a focal point of job development for have-not youths and physically challenged persons with limited job prospects. “Jobs” are buzzword nowadays so any help there is very much appreciated by all citizens of this great land.

The economics of reuse are clearly defined. Buying used is less costly than buying new.Some used Dell or Hp computers that are refurbished are very much in demand because for some IT departments they are more reliable than new and cost 30% to 40% less!

Conservation is in the national interest. A well known fact is that 80% of a computer’s carbon footprint is generated in the manufacturing of it. These are relevant things to know. Reusing uses significantly less resources. Reusing generates significantly less pollution and less waste. This means less used computers going to landfills and less incinerated waste into the atmosphere.

Indeed the community at large benefits from reuse. Reusing and due diligence do go hand in hand for institutions, companies and private individuals because of the simple logic of saving money and the environment at the same time.

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