As part of Eco Week 2016 (September 19-24), the Sustainability Office is holding the Sustainability Awards, celebrating the efforts of our university community to improve the world around us and make UC more sustainable. In the same spirit, we are profiling some sustainability efforts of UC students and departments.
IT Services have been doing brilliant work with their IT Recycling Service. Over 2015 they diverted about 18550 kg of IT equipment from landfill. We had a chat with Brad Ash about what they are doing and why.
What do you do at UC, Brad? I am an IT Technician for Technical Support, my normal role is processing Hardware Servicing Events for IT equipment but I am currently overseeing the IT Recycling Service. Also, Ruth Emmens and Joseph Yamit have stepped up to learn the Recycling Process, more hands on deck are always welcome!
What is the IT Recycling Service and what is its purpose? The service is a collaborative effort between ITS, Distribution Services and Financial Services, providing the University with a sustainable, ethical means to dispose or re-purpose UC-owned equipment that no longer meets current business requirements or expectations. As an example, this would include items such as: a PC that is older than four years (fully depreciated); broken phones, keyboards and cables; or surplus IT equipment gathering dust at the back of the office cupboard. IT recycling requests are initiated via the Self Service Portal. Given the volume of equipment we process, I would like to encourage readers new to the service to understand the following outline of service expectations.
What is the IT recycling process? During the processing stage, we tag the items with either green redeploy or red eWaste stickers. Items which we deem as re-deployable (e.g. Philips 22” Monitors) are tested, cleaned, electrically safety tested and asset tagged if applicable. These are then assigned to Colleges to replace items that are definitely eWaste. Components are used from re-deployable equipment to cater for Hardware Service Events where the Warranty has expired but the item is still economical to repair.
Items with eWaste stickers are passed to our Recycler and are mostly broken down into components which are processed at Metal Recyclers. Some items or parts are kept in stock and are passed on as donations for primary schools as an example. All data is removed from any Hard Drives in Computers that are eWasted.
Why is the IT Recycling Service important? The IT Recycling Service is important for the University as a whole as each item is removed from the Universities financial records when we confirm that it has been disposed of. It is important for us at Technical Support because we can use parts from redeployed computers for service events, and do upgrades at no cost. Also, it allows us to assist Colleges that are low on budget, by replacing eWaste equipment with redeployed equipment. And of course it is important environmentally, with less eWaste ending up in landfill.
How is it going with the service? The Service is going well, numbers started high since proper reporting begun in 2013. They are dropping slightly yearly, and we assume this is happening because the eWaste that Colleges have stored over the years are gradually being processed. Eventually, the numbers should mirror the equipment replacements that happen each year.
In 2015, a total of 2,383 items were processed which saved the University $5,250 in landfill costs. This price includes skips being hired and the cost per KG for disposal, this doesn’t include the effort from staff to actually dispose of the equipment at the Refuse Station. Eventually, we should not dispose of equipment in the Landfill anymore at all, we should always attempt to dispose of items in a sustainable manner. The process is constantly evolving to have minimum input from required members but to keep up the high standard of reporting, and less paperwork is always a good thing.
Are there other sustainability-focused improvements/initiatives you are looking at for the future? Nothing planned right now, but about mid-way through 2014, we started exchanging selected eWaste, “All In One” computers from student workrooms, for “repair credit” with a service agent. This gives us repair credit that we use for Mobile Phone and Tablets repairs. So far, cost savings have been approximately $4200 for 2015. So remember, if you drop your work Phone or Tablet, log a job through the Assyst tool and we can assess it for you!
Any other messages for staff ? What we ask at the moment is for Colleges to please refrain from holding on to eWaste equipment ‘just in case’. Please log a Recycling job through the Assyst Self-Service Tool for eWaste processing. And if you require equipment where new purchases are not viable, please log an Assyst job and we can most likely provide a solution for you.
Since we started reporting on the number of redeployed Computers passed on to Colleges in mid-2015, we have re-assigned 310 Computers (mostly for Engineering Post Grad workroom replacements).
Please click here for more information on the UC IT Recycling website.
UC Eco Week 2016 is a festival of events that celebrate and promote what you can do for the environment, your community and your life. See our webpage for updates on the events or see the event listing here.