According to the Uptime Institute Global Data Center Survey 2022, sustainability is becoming an increasingly important issue for data center operators.
One key element of sustainability for data centers is IT Asset Disposition (ITAD). ITAD is the process of responsibly disposing of end-of-life IT equipment and electronics. This includes several steps:
- Decommissioning and inventory: The equipment being retired is decommissioned and inventoried. This includes a physical inventory of the equipment, and an inventory of the data stored on the equipment.
- Data destruction: Safe data destruction practices are followed to ensure that sensitive data is destroyed before the equipment leaves the data center. This can include wiping the data from the hard drive, physically destroying the hard drive, or using other secure data destruction methods.
- Transport and processing: The equipment is packed up and taken to a facility that specializes in refurbishing and sustainably recycling used electronics.
- Refurbishment or recycling: The equipment is then either refurbished for reuse/resale or properly recycled. A reputable ITAD partner will furnish the organization with documentation showing verification of data destruction and how and when assets were disposed of. This helps organizations to recover value from their equipment that still has use while maintaining compliance with data security and other regulations.
The Uptime survey also found that many data center operators are not currently prepared to handle ITAD in-house, and are looking for third-party providers to assist with the process. In addition, they discovered that data center operators are under increasing pressure from legislators and other authorities to improve their sustainability practices and report on their environmental impact. This includes carbon emissions, water usage, e-waste, and the recycling and disposal of end-of-life equipment.
In terms of carbon emissions, only 37% of data center operators said they collect this data. This highlights the need for data center operators to prepare for the expected increase in regulations and reporting requirements related to carbon emissions.
Similarly, only 39% of data center operators currently report their water usage and 28% of operators said they track their e-waste or equipment life cycles. With many areas beginning to require new data center developments to be designed for minimal water consumption and regulations for e-waste being implemented, it's crucial for data center operators to prioritize tracking and reporting in these areas to remain compliant and sustainable.
Having an ITAD plan and partner is also essential for data center operators to ensure that they are properly disposing of end-of-life equipment. This will not only help data centers improve their environmental impact but also stay compliant with regulations.
OceanTech is an experienced and certified ITAD partner that can help data centers create a customized asset management plan that meets their corporate objectives and keeps them fully compliant with all necessary regulations. They use a secure data sanitization and destruction process that is continually tested and audited to guarantee data confidentiality and that recycled components are processed responsibly, and with sustainability in mind.