Green Technology and the Urgency for e-Waste Disposal


E-wasteInformation Technology (IT) has become a part and parcel of our personal and occupational life today. It has made our life much easier and comfortable. Today we cannot think of leading our life without the use of IT or Information and Communication Technology like internet, wireless, broadband, 3G/4G and virtualization.

As we know that every technology has both its brighter side and the darker side, Information and Communication Technology is also not an exception. It produces a large amount of electronic waste which is having a dreadful and terrible effect on the environment. According to the United Nation’s Environmental Programme (UNEP), there are some shocking findings which have come out like:

  • With 40 million tons annually, the global e–waste is growing very fast.
  • India and China are catching up very fast among the developing countries.
  • Indian e–waste (especially cell phones) is expected to grow by 18 times in next 10 years.

So this should be the wakeup call for everybody so that we can face the challenge and very skillfully and rationally utilize our resources. For the continuous business growth the organizations have to adopt information technology. For providing better services and operational efficiency the enterprises have to embrace greener technologies which can provide them energy efficiency, reliability and business continuity.

Corporate action plan

According to San Murugesan, Green (ICT) includes “designing, manufacturing, using and disposing of computers, servers and associated sub-systems – such as monitors, printers, storage devices, and networking and communications systems – efficiently and effectively with minimal or no impact on the environment.” Reduction in the use of hazardous materials, maximum energy efficiency for the products and the products which are not functioning and factory waste should be recycled or biodegradable are the goals of Green IT. Many IT companies in India like Wipro Technologies, Cisco Systems, Infosys Technologies Ltd., Accenture, HCL have adopted Green Information Technology so that the adverse impact on the environment can be reduced due to their IT operations.

“Corporate Action Plan on Climate Change: ICT as a Game Changer” is an initiative started by NASSCOM along with TERI – Business Council. This initiative plays a very important role by identifying the different sectors where ICT can contribute significantly in the reduction of carbon emission.

Today, though very slowly but the Indian enterprises have started realizing the necessities for adopting Green IT practices in India. The factors for driving them towards Green IT are WEEE (Waste of electrical and electronic equipments) of IT hardware products, data centre maintenance which is huge, fast growth in technology, and electric power supply shortage in India which is expected.

Adoption of Green Information Technology will not only help our environment but will also help the organizations to reduce the costs and they can enhance the quality of service and performance as well. They can decrease e–wastes that bring hazards which affect our climate and natural resources and can further encourage recyclability. This can prove to be the best possible way for the enterprises to reduce their IT budgets related to energy, paper and equipments.

The enterprises are taking different steps for the adoption of Green IT like:

Renewable energy

Renewable energy is that energy which is generated from natural resources like sun, wind, tide and some of the examples of this energy are solar energy, wind energy, biofuel energy and tidal energy. Renewable energy gets continuously renewed and is generated from natural processes. Among them solar energy is most popular.

Discarding of IT equipments

The wastes collected like old computers, printers, scanners, compact discs that are used by all the organizations are threats to our environment and health. They emit toxic gas to the atmosphere if exposed to sunlight and water. So these equipments should either be resold or recycled.

Green data centres

To obtain green network the organizations should go for virtualization, WAN optimization, cloud computing, server consolidation and grid computing. Organizations can save around 7,000 kilowatts hours of electrical and about four tons of emission of carbon dioxide from single virtualization and thus resulting in decline in power demand and the emission of greenhouse gas and natural resources will be reduced. Generally WAN connectivity involves high energy consumption as its connectivity with the other internet traffic delays the work for the overloading of different applications. Their traffic can be prioritized by the organizations by the help of WAN optimization and different regulations can be enforced helping the organizations for maintaining ‘green network’. Grid computing can reduce the energy consumption during data processing. By the help of cloud computing the customers do not have to own their own physical infrastructure as they can access the resources from the service providers’ servers.

Green technologies

Green technologies are also known as environmental technology which enable us to recycle, purify water, efficiently manage waste, treat sewage properly and renew energy. Thus green technology preserves our natural resources and environment which safeguard us and all the living organisms from any negative impact.

Green IT is not only for data centres and IT departments but much more than that. It needs urgent and immediate action. Every individual, industry and Government should take necessary steps to implement Green IT for which mass awareness is required. Every organization should promote Green IT for their sustainable goals as Green IT will be the foundation for the future green economy.

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