As scientific panels continue to warn the world about the possibility of widespread catastrophe due to climate change within the next 20 years, companies in all industries are taking steps to minimize their carbon footprints and reduce waste. Considering the inherent environmental concerns associated with the manufacturing and transportation processes involved in the production and distribution of computer components and other technological products, it makes sense that tech businesses are at the forefront of pioneering the green revolution. With that said, here are nine ways in which companies operating in thetechnology sector can reduce waste in everyday operations:
1. Sourcing Products Through Lean Manufacturing Processes
Whether your company directly participates in the manufacture of tech goods, or purchases them from a supplier, it’s important to start by looking into your manufacturing processes, since this is essentially the root of your business. If you’re running a manufacturing company, you may want to bring in a specialist who’s earned a masters in lean manufacturing online, as they could help you develop cleaner and more efficient processes that will be better for both the environment and your bottom line.
2. Converting Waste into Energy
One of the biggest problems with society’s current system of waste management is that it’s creating massive landfills which take eons to break down while polluting the soil, air, and groundwater. Plus, all of that waste has to be transported to a landfill or waste management facility, creating even more pollution in the form of burned fuel and emitted exhaust. Many tech companies are running some of their waste through special machines to extract the gases produced and turn them into usable energy using technologies like bioreactors, microturbines, and fuel cells.
3. Recycling Metals and Other Materials
Some technology startups have sprung up solely with the goal of facilitating the recycling and redistribution of essential materials and precious metals like iridium, platinum, and palladium. Of course, these practices help the environment by reducing the need to mine additional ore, since metals can typically be extracted from existing waste products using intense heat-based processes such as plasma arc recycling.
4. Using Advanced Software for Efficient Process Mapping
Efficiency will always be an important factor when it comes to reducing waste in company operations. Of course, most tech companies are no strangers to the use of specialized software, so it makes sense that these businesses would make use of advanced process mapping tools to minimize the generation of waste in the most efficient manner possible. If you’re not yet familiar with this aspect of company management, it would be wise to do your own research in this area if waste reduction is one of your goals, as it should be.
5. Automated Sorting and Disposal Methods
The conventional approach of manually sorting waste into various bins for recycling not only consumes payroll by occupying the time of employees, it can also lead to mishaps caused by human error. Today’s technology businesses can keep their material and time wasting to a minimum by utilizing automated screening and sorting systems. Furthermore, this same technology is made available to consumers at local recycling plants, so everyone can benefit from easier and more accurate waste reduction.
6. Using Renewable Sources as Much as Possible
Did you know that Google sources more than a third of its energy from renewable resources and is officially carbon neutral? Using renewable energy and easily recyclable materials is one of the most important steps tech companies can take to ensure long-term sustainability. Furthermore, companies like Sony are making efforts to completely eliminate their usage of fossil fuels and other non-renewable resources. While small businesses might not be able to make such a switch just yet, there are always alternative manufacturing materials and operational procedures that can help you gradually work your way towards carbon neutrality.
7. Developing Custom Apps for Energy Management
Large tech companies are known for creating in-house solutions and proprietary software. Case in point, Nokia has created several smart apps to assist in the management of electricity grids and the strategic, ongoing acquisition of renewable materials in an optimally efficient manner. Likewise, transportation companies are using trip touring apps to minimize the impact of their vehicle fleets on the environment. While this may not be an applicable tip for every tech company, it’s important to think about ways that custom software could help your business become more efficient.
8. Avoiding the Use of Harmful Chemical Substances
Reducing the volume of waste is only one half of the battle – you also need to be careful about the kinds of waste you’re producing. Of course, even an entire ton of biodegradable material is never going to be as bad for the environment as a small amount of hazardous waste because the latter typically causes negative effects on the environment and human health over time. Major tech giants like Panasonic have committed to minimizing their usage of harmful chemical substances through their aptly titled “Green Plan.
”9. Using Green Data Centers
Apple has made the claim that it’s one of the only companies in the world that’s powered by 100% renewable energy. Also, about 75% of their offices and stores are powered completely by renewable energy. That’s quite an accomplishment and it’s one that every tech company should strive towards. While paying for green hosting services might cost a bit more than conventionally powered hosting, this is a step that almost any tech company can take to make sure their online operations are acting as “part of the solution” rather than yet another link in a long chain of widely ignored environmental problems.
Creating a Cleaner Environment is Part of Human Innovation
The technology industry is always at the forefront of innovation and invention, so it makes sense that this sector should also lead the way in creating solutions that will result in a cleaner and healthier world for future generations. After all, technology is supposed to improve quality of life and create opportunities, and saving the environment is obviously an essential aspect of accomplishing those common goals.