"So there are only really a few technologies and very few companies employing technologies that are clean and result in as zero emissions as possible, so the infrastructure for responsible recycling is infinitely smaller than demand for it. If you are a company that wants to ensure that your material is being properly recycled and literally reduced back to raw material state that is suitable for feedstock into another manufacturing process, it becomes necessary to very carefully vet the recycling partners that you choose, the recycling vendors that you choose, and in most cases it's safe to assume that unless you can see the material being reduced down to the raw components — the plastics, the steels and so on — and then are able to ensure that that material is actually being sold at reasonable commodity prices back into manufacturing, then you can assume that something less savoury is happening to your electronics.
"The reality is that probably 98 percent of the electronics that is nominally recycled in the world at this point is being done either by very dirty manual methods or something more industrialized but still not very clean."
Finally, CIOs keen to promote environmentally sound policies should be on the lookout for improvements to old processes. As digital printing becomes increasingly adopted in companies, IT departments are incorporating the technology into the overall IT infrastructure. The environmentally aware CIO can encourage that transition and also suggest updating existing offset presses with new chemical-free plate-making and offset printing technologies.
US-based GreenPrint Technologies, in another first, has created software that eliminates all those wasted pages that come off the printer with just a URL or banner ad at the bottom. It says several Fortune 500 companies are currently doing pilot programs in the hopes of saving millions of dollars a year in reduced paper and ink usage and saving thousands of trees while reducing their carbon footprint and emissions.
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