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The impacts of technology on the environment

As a Managed Service Provider (MSP) our team love getting their teeth stuck into learning about new technological advancements. The majority of workplaces use modern technology to make working easier and more effective, but what are the effects of these advancements on the world we are living in?

In this blog we want to discuss both the positive and negative effects of technology on the environment and how as businesses we can use technology with minimum negative impacts on the climate.

Technological waste

The average lifespan of an electronic device in the UK is roughly 2 years. It is often easier for companies to purchase new devices and discard old ones than attempting to maintain or upgrade an old device.

Did you know that 20-50 million tonnes of waste is generated worldwide each year? When companies chose to discard these devices rather than recycling or reselling them, they tend to wind up in landfill sites or sent to other countries with more lenient rules on recycling.

This technological waste that is being produced can often contain poisonous and harmful chemicals, this is a serious hazard to the environment. This waste can be extremely harmful for living creatures as well as poisoning the water surrounding these sites.

Remote working

Technological advancements have given companies and employees the ability to operate remotely, which has been vital for a lot of businesses since the Covid-19 pandemic began back in March 2020. It has now shaped a new modern workplace where many employees work remotely.

This is all made easier with systems such as Microsoft Teams – allowing companies to stay connected with employees, clients and suppliers all through videos conferences and instant chats.

The main advantage that this brings to the environment is that it helps to reduce the amount of commuting to work thus less fuel is being used which is brilliant news for the climate! It also means that less office space is needed for business’ as less employees need to be physically in the office to complete their everyday work tasks. Less office space often equates to a decrease in waste being produced (both electrical and physical waste)

Energy consumption

As we are aware all of the computers, smartphones and tablets that we use require recharging after a few hours of usage, this sufficiently increases the electricity consumption within companies. When we plug in our electronic devices to a non-renewable source, we must remember that this comes with a carbon cost. It contributes to greenhouse gases and our climate crisis so being wary of how much energy you are consuming as a company is vital in helping the environment.

Even huge servers and data banks require vast quantities of energy to turn them into the complex electronic technological products that we rely on to hold large amounts of sensitive data, although efficiency is increasing, we still have a long way to go as a lot of this energy being used does not come from renewable energy resources.

Cloud Computing

With the majority of businesses deploying Cloud based solutions it is important to see the affect that this has on the environment. As a whole enabling multi-tenancy solutions instead of wasteful in-house servers means that resources are shared and efficiency goes through the roof.

The sheer scale of internet technology can be an asset to the environment as easily as it can be a liability. As of the release of the report – six major cloud brands – Apple, Google, Facebook, Salesforce, Box, and Rackspace had committed to achieving 100% green energy for their data centres.

Research has shown that moving commonly used software over to The Cloud will inevitably decrease energy consumption – one of the reasons behind this is linked to our earlier discussion, Cloud computing is a main enabler of both home and remote working which reduces emissions!

What can we do?

When it comes to technology and the environment, the general majority of negative impacts on the environment are based around misuse and lack of knowledge surrounding technology.

One practice that can be implemented within all companies is general training on the use of technology. By making employees more aware of the impacts of technology and their energy usage, you can lower your carbon footprint as a business and ultimately create a better environment in the long run.

Another practice that can be suggested is ensuring that you have a recycling system implemented for all of your company’s recyclable old devices. This can massively help to decrease waste and create a better climate!

There are many recycling solutions that are widely available including from us here at Total IT, we operate a WEEE system (waste electrical & electronic equipment) We offer this for a small fee to remove and recycle your old devices – to find out more contact us today: 01908 870360

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