What is sustainable IT?

We are all aware that there is a need to be more environmentally friendly in order to protect our planet for future generations and the IT sector has a key role to play in this.

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We are all aware that there is a need to be more environmentally friendly in order to protect our planet for future generations and the IT sector has a key role to play in this.

What does it mean to be sustainable?

According to the United Nations Sustainability is defined as “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

When we look at this statement more closely and we apply it to an IT setting we can see to distinct elements:

  1. We need to protect, the environment and the planet for future generations.
  2. You shouldn’t have to sacrifice meeting your current IT requirements


We do need to accept however, that the way we need to use IT needs to change.

How bad is the IT industry for the environment?

In a previous post Ikonic looked in more detail about the impact IT has on the environment. But to give a short summary IT is harmful to the environment in:

  • It’s production, with the use of raw materials, toxic elements and consumption of toxic gases.
  • It’s use, the average PC uses more power a year than a refrigerator.
  • It’s disposal. Because many companies renew their IT after a set number of years there is a lot IT finding it’s way into landfill each year, when it need not to. And according to The Ohio State University despite e-waste only making up 2% of rubbish in landfills, it makes up almost 70% of the toxic heavy metals in these landfills.

How can we make IT more sustainable?

Make sustainability part of your purchasing.

When you are looking at buying IT for your business you should be putting a greater focus on sustainability in your consideration. For example, if you are buying new then look to brands that have made a commitment to sustainability. Dell, HP and Lenovo are all brands stocked by Ikonic who have become TCO certified. This means that they are durable, upgradeable and recyclable.

Extend your product lifecycle.

We have been conditioned to want the latest things, whether that is tv’s, phones, game consoles, etc. This conditioning has found itself into the corporate world with many organisations having built in cycles to replace their IT.

If we are going to change our purchase habits to purchasing IT which is more durable we also need to condition ourselves to extend our product lifecycles and to not change IT equipment too soon.

Disposal of IT products

Your IT doesn’t need to end up in landfill, many companies like Ikonic offer a buy back scheme. This means that the companies will buy your IT that they can then recycle or in an ideal world put into their refurbished stock. It is worth looking at the best ways to dispose of your IT.

Purchase refurb

Many people struggle with the idea of buying refurbished IT. However, it is one of the best things you can do to make your IT sustainable. It extends a products lifecycle and will reduce the amount of new IT being produced.

The important thing to understand is that if you use a reputable company like Ikonic you are still buying quality IT. For example Ikonic have a 66-point check to make sure that each item that is refurbished to the highest possible standard.

There is also another benefit to buying refurbished. Refurnished IT could potentially save you 50% compared to a new alternative.

To conclude

It is up to the IT industry to make products that are more durable and less harmful to the environment. However, we all have a responsibility to change our purchasing habits to that look for more sustainable options, preferentially we would recommend purchasing refurb. But if you are not going to purchase refurb make sure that you hold onto your IT longer and then sell it on to a reputable company that will refurbish your stock and give it a new lease of life.