Making our Operations more Sustainable
Sustainability is our core business, but we’re always striving for improvements across our operations.
Our Sustainability Team and Committee are dedicated to delivering this with a focus on three main areas:
- Innovating for the circular economy
- In-house energy efficiency research
- Informing purchasing decisions
Innovating for the Circular Economy
Our core business has diverted over 2,000 tonnes of tech from landfill since 2019.
Recycling is the least-best option in the waste hierarchy due to its wasteful and energy-intensive processes, so we always prioritise repair, refurbishment, and reuse (recycling only what’s left).
Unfortunately, the industry currently mirrors the left side of the diagram, with recycling the most common option. We want to invert this hierarchy to make reuse the standard practice and recycling the last resort. We’ve completed many projects to do this:
- Keeping over 500 kg of HHDs in use by detecting and correcting defects before they lead to failure.
- Doubling repair rates by 3D printing components and tools.
- Donating over 1,600 kg of usable hardware to charities like IT Schools Africa and ReUsing IT.
- Reducing or removing plastic waste in our packaging.
- Distributing unrecyclable incoming packaging to schools and charities as arts and crafts supplies
In-house energy efficiency research
We used the server-efficiency tool from our sister company, Interact, to identify the optimal hardware configurations for our office. This created major savings:
- 50% fewer servers required
- 17,429 kWh less energy over 3 years
- 4,460 kg less use-phase CO₂e emissions over 3 years
- We went with refurbished servers, which saved on embodied carbon as well.
In 2022, we caried out energy efficiency research of our different desk hardware options, which helped update our IT strategies.
Informing purchasing decisions
Paper has a range of environmental impacts – ranging from deforestation to waterway damage from the bleaching process – so we’ve reduced our impact in the following ways:
- Switching to using 100% recycled, unbleached paper in the UK.
- Altering printer settings to conserve ink, especially on internal documents.
When sustainable alternatives aren’t available, we create them by becoming a prosumer. We collaborated with our supplier Direct Foam and Packaging to bring to market an alternative to the unrecyclable low-density polyethylene (LDPE) foam used to protect servers. The resulting Eco Strata™ product we now use in the UK offers a range of sustainability benefits:
- Uses 10-times more recycled plastic
- No reduction in performance or price
- No change in assembly time