Numbers are funny. We’re often told they never lie. But is it ever that cut and dry?
Take electronic waste (e-waste), for example. If someone told you it comprised just 2%-3% of America’s solid waste stream, you might not view it as cause for alarm.
But what if they added that it accounts for 70% of all hazardous material in landfills and that 20 to 50 million metric tons of e-waste are disposed of worldwide each year? That changes things, right?
The fact is, e-waste is an issue that has been growing exponentially in recent years, with negative effects on the environment and human health. It contains toxic chemicals such as lead and mercury that can cause neurological damage while contributing to climate change by releasing greenhouse gases due to energy production.
This is why 11:11 Systems reached out to Human-I-T, a nonprofit organization dedicated to diverting technology from landfills to communities in need — and in just a few months, this partnership has already created efficiencies across the business while giving back to the community.
The origins of a ‘sustainable’ partnership
The relationship began when 11:11 Systems was streamlining its data centers after acquiring Sungard Availability Services (Sungard AS). Prior to this, the company had worked with vendors that adhered to conventional industry practices of disposing of excess equipment.
Nonetheless, Leslie Greene, the director of strategic initiatives at 11:11 Systems, recognized the potential for a more environmentally friendly alternative, which is where Human-I-T came into play.
At Human-I-T, the goal is to create “equitable access to opportunity by providing devices, internet access, digital skills training, and tech support for communities left on the wrong side of the digital divide.”
To ensure data security on any devices received, Human-I-T has NIST certifications and takes great care to wipe equipment before donating or recycling it.
What has 11:11 Systems achieved so far?
By partnering with Human-I-T, 11:11 Systems found a way to reduce e-waste in a secure and meaningful manner, opting to donate equipment that was no longer needed rather than discard it and add to mounting e-waste challenges.
11:11 Systems’ initial donation on Dec. 20, 2022, diverted 10,585 pounds of e-waste out of landfills and provided low-income students and families with access to computers, free or low-cost internet, and digital literacy training. On Jan. 20, 2023, the organization diverted another 11,304 pounds of e-waste.
11:11 Systems has plans to continue working with Human-I-T, including supporting the Data Center Consolidation Project in Philadelphia and donating corporate equipment like unused laptops and printers. Best of all, the partnership not only supports the company’s environmental, social, and governance (ESG) program but also aligns with its corporate values, demonstrating a commitment to making a difference in the communities where it operates.
Address e-waste before it gets even more out of hand
In 2019, a record 53.6 million metric tons of e-waste was generated, resulting in a 21% increase over five years, per the Global E-Waste Monitor 2020. That number is projected to reach nearly 75 million tons.
We can no longer ignore this growing problem. It’s time for more companies to take appropriate steps to reduce out of control e-waste.
11:11 Systems took the leap by partnering with Human-I-T and has zero regrets. The positive impact has been immediate, and the benefits are being felt by both the company and community alike.