It’s not easy being green

My first IT recycling experience was almost thwarted by a lack of driving directions.

I drove around for 20 minutes before I discovered a tiny road off Highway 7, which led to the City of Markham, Ont.’s hardware recycling depot. But there it was, as promised by the city’s Web site: a dumping ground piled high with old monitors, CPUs, televisions and other abandoned technology. It looked for all the world like a set piece from a post apocalyptic movie.

I pulled up next to the pile, took out my old CPU from the back of the car and dropped it on the ground, as instructed by one of the workers manning the site. He picked it up and swung it impressively on top of the heap where it landed with a satisfying thunk. My old monitor followed and cracked apart in an equally pleasing manner. I strongly recommend recycling your old computers, if only to watch them fly through the air.

As cathartic as that experience might be, it’s still not all that easy to recycle in most municipalities. The depot I visited was only open till 6:00 PM, and technically I wasn’t even supposed to use it since I’m not a Markham resident.

The problem is exacerbated when you’re a business buying dozens or hundreds of PCs at a time. Getting rid of them is a chore most people would rather set aside. After all, recycling may be good for the environment and a salve for your conscience, but it isn’t easy.

One reason why we created this knowledge centre is to address these issues: Where can you recycle your old technology? How can you reduce the amount of waste you generate in the first place?

“Green” has become something we’ve all experienced in IT: a buzzword. Buzzwords are useful in that they draw attention to a topic that probably warrants it. They’re also an excuse for vendors and people that stand to make a buck off your business to promote themselves as heavily as possible.

I can’t ignore the fact that ITWorld is jumping on the green bandwagon as well – we’re putting together a new knowledge centre because it’s a hot topic and the interest is there. But we’re also doing it because it’s important; more important than installing the latest business intelligence suite; more important than making sure making sure your Microsoft patches up are to the minute.

Going green is about doing something that will make a difference to the world around us and, if done right, help you make your business a better place to work. I hope you’ll treat this knowledge centre as a resource to do just that. Together, we can get to the top of the heap.