One of the topics that I blog about most regularly (elsewhere) is green IT. Personally speaking, I think one of the easiest ways for a technology solution provider to become involved in the green IT movement is by bringing expertise in end-of-life product management to its customers. Indeed, why not think about end of life at the beginning of life, when you are deploying technology?
About a month ago, I wrote about ValCom, which has managed to get around the “direct” specter in some enterprise accounts because it could manage the process of taking aged technology out of service. For those of you waiting for more proof that green IT could be more lucrative than it seems, it’s here: the world’s biggest technology distributor Ingram Micro has just launched a Smart Steward recycling program.
The initiative will help VARs and solution providers handle the disposal of small electronics and printer suppliers. Ingram MIcro has teamed up with a third party to handle the process, Clover Technologies.
Realistically, this is just a baby step: it just covers things like printer cartridges and phones right now, not necessarily big stuff like massive servers. For that sort of thing, technology solution providers will need to team up with companies that have certifications in e-waste disposal. The two big ones to look for is anyone that holds an e-Steward certification, a program that was originally started by the Basel Action Network, or a company that upholds the Responsible Recycling policies that were developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
ValCom works with CloudBlue, which is one of the e-Steward recyclers that is explicitly looking to become involved with technology solution providers. Another company that took the e-Stewards plunge more recently is the massive aluminum processing company, Alcoa. So, this certification will have legs because the stuff that is being taken out of consumer electronics devices has a “value” at the end of life that isn’t accounted for right now.