The cloud is the future of computing and there is little doubt about it. An increasing number of companies are seeing the benefit of storing their data on the cloud and moving to outsource their data center infrastructure to cloud based service providers. This has one big implication for electronics recyclers: there will be a need to decommission thousands of data centers in the near future and they should be ready for it when the time comes.
The tsunami, to give an analogy, has already started and it’s just a matter of time before thousands of companies will be looking for electronics recyclers to help with data center decommissioning. The majority of the companies will be looking for certified electronic recyclers to ensure the security of their data and safety of their equipment. So, if you are an electronics recycler and if you haven’t received certification yet, you should become certified as soon as you can. Otherwise, you will miss the bus when it arrives.
Currently, two accredited standards exist for electronics recyclers: the Responsible Recycling Practices (R2) and the e-Stewards® standards. While the EPA encourages electronics recyclers to become certified by either or both of them, it doesn’t endorse any of them. This, however, doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t be certified. Since the EPA encourages customers to hire only certified electronics recyclers, you will find yourself out of a job if you do not become certified.
Both the R2 and e-Stewards® standards place great emphasis on maximizing the reuse and recycling of old devices and materials, minimizing exposure of harmful substances to humans and the environment, and ensuring that safe management practices are put into place in regard to the handling of these materials. Obviously, safeguarding human health and protecting the environment are high on the priority list of these standards.
In order to become certified, you must be able to demonstrate to an accredited, independent third-party auditor that you can meet specific safety standards in the recycling and management of electronic goods. If you have been practicing stringent safety standards, you will have no problem passing the test. On their part, the certifying bodies must be able to demonstrate to a certification accreditation board that they are competent in auditing and providing certification.
As a certified electronics recycler, you will be expected to pay proper attention to the reduction in the negative impacts of recycling on the environment and human health, reuse and recycling of devices and materials, and reduction in energy use. You will not only concern yourself with the decommissioning and demolition of the data center, but also address health and environmental issues.
With the expected wholesale move towards cloud-based data centers, there will be a glut of data center decommissioning contracts for certified electronics recyclers. However, there will also be an increase in the number of recyclers. Your ability to get hired will depend on your ability to do the job well. If you are prepared now and if you can prove yourself, then it will be smooth sailing.