Circular economy in the IT world 

1) Purchasing IT equipment

If an organization wants to be involved in promoting circular economy and more sustainable operations, it is important to consider the purchase phase and process. During the purchase phase, an organization can make a conscious decision about how much, for example, their purchased equipment contains materials that can be recycled in the future or whether the purchased equipment already contains recycled materials. It is also a good idea to consider the CO2 emissions of the equipment during the purchase phase.

Sustainability criteria must be included in the purchase process alongside technological criteria. In this way, a decision is made to purchase equipment that lasts for a long time and that can ultimately be recycled into raw materials as efficiently as possible.

2) Lifetime and extension of the lifetime of IT equipment

Maximizing the lifespan of a device within its initial deployment is key to functioning circular economy. This way, the device’s lifetime can be optimized with technology.

IT can support this by monitoring the physical condition of the devices and the functionality of the software. The lifetime of the devices can be extended through effective remote management, maintenance, and generally knowing what is happening inside the devices.

SwanIT's services for responsible end-of-life treatment are specifically aimed at extending the lifetime of devices - and this can save the company large sums of pure cash.

3) Raw materials and recycling

If a device changes users within the organization, circular economy can still be implemented, as long as the organization ensures that the device is recycled. However, if the device is sold to a location where its end-of-life handling cannot be known, then we can no longer talk about circular economy.

The most effective way is for the organization to, for example, rent the device as a service - and in this case the device is included in the circular economy promise. So, whenever the ownership or location of the device changes, there is a high risk that circular economy will end, if the partner cannot verify the collection and recycling of raw materials.

The device can of course be recycled from one organization to another. As long as we make sure that the device ends up in the third and final step of our IT circular economy definition (i.e. raw materials and recycling), that's fine.

The device should therefore end up in the service of an operator where it is dismantled, the raw materials are recovered - and these raw materials end up in industrial use in the form of new products.

These new products do not have to be just IT equipment, but all collected material reduces the need for new raw material in the world. This way, mining growth can be slowed down, as mining has a huge impact on environmental and human rights issues. 

Tangible benefits of circular economy:

1) Promoting human rights and environmental values.
2) An organization's sustainability figures are already known, if, for example, CO2 emissions and recycling rates have been taken into account.
3) The organization needs to buy less, which means that significantly less money is spent on devices.
4) In addition to money, time is also saved. The need for a constant switching of devices is avoided, as things can be done on a data-driven, needs-based and flexible basis.

What does circular economy mean in the IT world? (in Finnish)

Circular economy always includes raw materials. If we don't talk about raw materials, then we don't understand the circular economy. In the circular economy, we always consider what materials to procure and why, and how to extend their lifespan. The most important thing is to get the raw material back into circulation - from which new raw materials can be obtained...
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