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Share Your Ideas for Minimizing Your Data Center Footprint and Earn 250 THWACK Points!

Level 15

We all love our smartphones, computers, tablets, and gadgets. Some of us wait in long lines the moment the latest tech hits the shelves, while others upgrade when our old devices finally kick the bucket. Either way, we are all inevitably left with outdated tech that we need to discard. The hardware, batteries, cables, and accessories often become burdensome because we are not sure how to recycle this old technology.

Recycling properly can take time that you may not have (we know you’re under pressure to keep processes in your organizations running smoothly), meaning that the environment often takes a backseat as our old tech collects dust in the supply closet. With Earth Day just around the corner, we want to hear a few tips and tricks about how best to recycle or dispose of older hardware in an environmentally friendly way.

Let us know what an IT environmentalist looks like by sharing the best ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle old technology by April 11th and we’ll put 250 THWACK points in your account!

159 Comments
Level 8

We pay a recycling company to haul off our old equipment.

Level 8

Lies!!!

Level 9

Monthly scheduled recycling at all locations, Azure and AWS as partners to reduce equipment footprint, and flowers everywhere....

Level 8

usually hash a deal with recyclers. preference to those who can get it all done in one go. (ie. data destruction, ship out, recycle, etc)

Level 12

If you have a partially or fully virtualized environment you need to run a performance and capacity analysis at least once a year. Find those VMs that someone built but never used, that group that owns 25 VMs but could consolidate the workload onto 12, the lazy developer who keeps piling apps to one server and never bother spreading the load, that greedy user who demanded a physical server 24 CPUs and 36GB of memory and terabytes of disk yet the system never uses more than 2 CPUs and 4GB and has only 50GB of files that would easily move to the virtual realm.

And ALSO look for that poor old VM using 99% CPU and 99% memory almost all the time and everyone wonders why it's so darn slow. An overutilized server can be a time-waster, too.

We use an environmentally safe hardware and data destruction firm. The Employees Activities Committee at my company took the lead on advertising what all could be considered for this type of destruction. Not only computers and monitors, but keyboards, mouse, docking stations, printers, chargers, and more. Our piles can get pretty significant in size.

The nice thing about the agency we procure is that they come and gather it all up and then submit us an invoice. So we don't spend any time sorting, stacking, and inventorying.

Level 9

We usually sell it on GovDeals.

Level 8

Found the easiest method is to call a recycler for old spare part equipment.  Recyclers normally do a free pickup, they in turn smelt for the gold.

Drives are always shredded with a certificate which is generally the only cost we accrue when disposing of old equipment.

Level 8

We use a local company that comes in, catalogs, and removes equipment for secure destruction and recycling. We use this same company for our customers discarded equipment and for employees if they choose to use it.

Level 9

We also use a company to securely dispose of and recycle old electronics.

Level 8

We sale off most used equipment and send any unwanted to a recycle company

Level 10

We utilize a third party company that recycles all of our unwanted electronics!

Level 9

We sell any used equipment that we can and recycle the rest.

Level 10

We have a pallet that all technology goes into for proper recycling. Also, we only have virtual hosts and AWS instances. Spinning up CoLo's is actually pretty easy; just order the circuits and its only a small number of racks of gear - compared to where we were 5 years ago with filled data centers.

Level 12

I missed the deadline for the thwack point . . . . hoping I still get them

but here are how we minimize our footprint:

1. Pay a certified and environmental authority sanctioned company to do environmentally safe disposals - server, storage, cables

2. Resell PC's to employees - PC's, laptops

3. Donate PC's to charities

Level 10

We use datacenter hot airflow directly for warming water and send this water for normal use in our buildings

Level 12

We donate our old hardware when it is appropriate, after sanitizing it of course. This includes the local schools, the DAR Boys and Girls club, the local colleges for their tech programs (new tech students love to see how the inside of something works, and then break it!), the local animal shelter, the list goes on and on.

What we don't donate we have a company pick up and recycle. We break down the systems to their base components and sanitize the hard drives and render them inoperable.

We have gotten creative with making some interesting things out of old stuff too. I made a nice hard drive platter wind chime that hung in the help desk for a few years. Someone made a nice set of cpu cufflinks. A necktie made out of a vga cable and ram. My favorite is probably cpu heat sink jenga though.

Level 10

I am a little late but We wipe our old computers , cable boxes, switches, etc. and a company comes and picks up them to recycle them.

If we still think the computers could be put to good use we sell them to employees after they have been cleaned and wiped.

Level 8

All hard drives are pulled and demagnetized.    Demagnetized drives are then sent out to be shredded.  Equipment is donated or recycled depending on the type. 

Level 8

We use an asset disposal company to safely dispose of all of our IT equipment. I work in HealthCare IT, so making sure sensitive data is removed is critical so that no patient data is ever exposed, and we pay the same company to destroy the hard drives.

Level 11

I have a server room only. But we inventory all equipment and cross check with our finance team and network team to verify the devices are no longer needed and have been depreciated in value. Then we call around to 501c3 charities and try to donate them. If they wont take them we call a 3rd party equipment vendor that will buy them to refurbish and resell.

Level 8

We pay a company to pickup and e-waste our old equipment

Level 12

I recycle the used and outdated items.

Level 12

Company I worked for use to donate hardware as well.  One of the schools had a donated server start a fire and tried to get the donating company to reimburse them.  Legal never let them donate hardware again after that.

Level 8

Yes we don't let anyone have or buy any equipment, for this exact reason.

Level 20

We donate old cellphones and some electronics like laptops to Cellphones for Soldiers.  They clean up and reuse the Cellphones so Soldiers in the field can use them to call loved ones at home!

Level 13

We fitted the server room with enclosures and additional fans to reduce the space that needs active cooling and to direct airflow to where it's needed more efficiently.

MVP
MVP

I was allowed recently to fight for the right ... to decrease the data center footprint.

We just built a new facility.  The space allocated was tremendous, and I had to use documentation being pushed by the Feds and I had to bring other folks to the party to explain why we no longer required such a massive space to operate our data center.

I took 12 racks of servers (about 75 physical boxes, and several storage arrays) and condensed it down into a single rack consisting of a NetApp Storage Repository with 3 tiers of storage, along with  a Dell M1000e Chassis and 13 M630 Blades all running a flavor of VM Ware.  Not only do we now have the server environment totally virtualized (I have 2 domain controllers and a access control security server as physical boxes now), but our desktop environment has gone totally virtual.

We also collapsed/upgraded the Avaya Phone system from analog to digital, which also allowed the reduction in physical boxes occupying space, taking up power, and requiring additional cooling.

We were able to cut the power, space, and cooling down to about an eighth of the "old" facility.  We now have space to rent to other organizations, and still have plenty of room to grow, should a technological bust hit the horizon.  The data center footprint has been able to shrink a little on its own, because the industry has developed much more energy efficient, and powerful computing in a much smaller box.

Level 8

Connect with the local e waste/recycle center and setup an event with your department to get rid of old tech.

Level 10

Zennifer, How difficult was it to get your management to go for this? Like you, we have a large data center with about 16 racks. We also use NetApp, E-series, FAS and now SolidFire for our storage. I know we could condense our data center down, but nobody wants to listen. Any additional thoughts you could provide would be great. Dave

Level 8

E recycle. Find a vendor that can properly dispose of old equipment.

Level 9

since we have sensitive data I have to shread the Hard Drives, but the remainder of the server, switches, firewalls, desktop computers and monitors are a different story.

We have a Makerspace in the DFW area, so when my boss tells me to throw away excess equipment, I load up my car and go donate it to the Makerspace. 1 man's trash is another man's treasure.

Level 7

I am also one who works with sensitive data, so everything gets sanitized before either being destroyed or put up on a list to see if any other programs in the environment can use the hardware. After sitting on there for a couple weeks and no one takes it, it gets destroyed by our hardware team. We keep a lot of switches in our spare cabinet for future use, example being we had 6x 3850's that will be used for our new LAN closet switches for our new VDI environment, as well as some Nexus switches and FEX's for the new VDI DMZ... saved us quite a bit of money.

Level 9

We installed in row cooling with a closed system to trap the heat leaving the servers, cool it to 72 degrees and blow it back into the room. It's a much more efficient method of cooling and doesn't require massive krack units to chill the room to low 60 degree temperatures.

On a smaller scale, we take all old power and networking cables to local recyclers, including Best Buy to keep them from ending up in a landfill.

Level 7

We up cycle all our equipment

I'm new to the company and think recycling equipment is a must , schools and other learning projects. need equipment. Plus way better to use and let the younger and older people train and learn.

Level 8

On one of the company i used to work they just throw all the stuff away after they destroy it by any method.

Coworkers and myself suggested that we donate some.of the equipment to schools or orphanages .

They were ok with the idea but they asked us to deliver it after all the data from the company was clear.

We had to piece together some devices to make the most out of them and we keep some of the parts for further ocassions.

So after 2 weeks of spending my free time working on them i delivered to the school 3 blocks away from were i lived and they were grateful for it .

So recycle and donate are my personal opinion the best way to handle e-waste.

Kinda sucks that the school got robbed 2 months later though.

Level 9

We donate some of the old equipment to some schools instead of destroying them. So they can be taught about recycling and using some parts of the equipment.

Level 9

We donate old equipment to the Good Will and community-based organizations like churches and youth programs.  We also have started to P2V the majority of our physical servers reducing the need for an abundance of racks.

Level 8

We donate some equipment. Most old equipment is recycled through a responsible IT recycling company.

Level 8

Never really thought about this ! Our footprint is small and try to recycle old equipment and reuse what I can with in the facility. we actually have a desk that is occupied with in the data center. so we use every inch of what we have. would like more room!

Level 13

we recycle as much as we can...ensuring that anything that holds data gets properly wiped and / or destroyed first.

Level 9

We contracted a nationwide recycler to provide boxes up to a pallet in size, we fill them and leave them in a connex until 90% full, then we call and they come and take the entire pallet. Individual items (server/switch/UPS upgrades) we resell through the same company.

Level 7

Basically pallet the old equipment and recycle.

Level 8

9MM aka Office Space kill the printers

Level 8

Not that I have done this yet, but there is a popular trend and that is Anger Rooms, I know they are always looking for things to use in their rooms for people to smash! so if you can get all the data off (as you should be doing anyway!) and then donate to them this could help a local business and get that old stuff out of your closet.

Level 8

Coming from an employer were we always used thewest stuff available it took some time to get used to my new employer, but it gives me a really good feeling that we maintain and recognise the use of older equipment. Not all functions need the newest hardware available. We make a balance of who needs what and if we have unusable equipment we donate it to good causes that can use them.
Also old toners a donated to charity.

It is always good to realise that older equipment isn't necesarilly worthless and good be used very well for for lesser demanding functions instead of thoughtlesly trow it away.

Just use your sense,

Sjoerd







Level 7

I donate my old phones to a women's shelter and the other old gear I use Best Buy or our local E-Cycler.

Level 7

We recently purchased more efficient cooling devices for the data center. In addition, we look at what current hardware is doing and if cloud datacenters could host as they are typically more efficient due to scale vs our own data center.

Level 12

I donate all usable laptops to school aged children.

Level 8

Extract all part that can be re-used and recycle the one that are broken or very old . For example in laptops or PC ( RAM /CPU / HDD / FAN etc...)