Recycling Your Assets: Back to the Future!

Plastic bottles in trash bin with recycle sign

I recently stumbled across some old corporate documents and was reminded that our first attempt at “branding” our business involved a logo that incorporated the universal sign for “recycling.”  In hindsight, it is funny to think that we even considered what we were doing at the time to be close enough to “recycling” that we would try to portray that image. But, with no marketing plan or budget, we had no place better to look for “branding” inspiration than the bottom of a milk carton!

This all happened back in 2001 when we really didn’t need to know much about recycling because we could sell pretty much every computer we got in. It seemed like every friend, family member or stranger that heard we were reselling used computers would inevitably come to the conclusion that, for the right price, it sure would be nice to have an extra computer or two around the house.  Maybe one in the basement “just for the kid’s games” or maybe a laptop that they could use to “check emails” while watching TV.

We would often find it funny that people wanted all these “extra” computers. I remember thinking about the scene in the movie “Back to the Future” where Marty McFly (Michael J Fox) finds himself back in 1955 trying to explain that he has two television sets. He is being laughed at and told “you must be rich” or “nobody has two televisions.” I would imagine myself going back in time to 1990 and trying to explain to people that in just 10 years you would have multiple computers around the house, that you could have two gigantic CRT monitors at your desk (assuming you had a very sturdy desk) and that most college kids carried laptops to class!

While the consumer demand for used hardware eventually started to decline, the demand for more access to the internet continues to skyrocket. Those same people that wanted an “extra” computer are now saying “Hey, Siri….send Mike a text message and ask if he can take back this piece of junk he sold me 10 years ago.”

Needless to say, the IT “recycling” industry has evolved drastically in the 15 years we have been involved in it. We now regularly have to recycle over 50% of the hardware assets that come out of corporate environments.

In thinking about this post, I “Googled” the phrase “percentage of emails opened on mobile devices” and quickly found the statto be 55% or more. This means that over half of you likely are reading this from a phone or tablet. So what are we going to do with all these electronic devices that we carry with us everywhere? More importantly, what about all the other devices out there now that we use to run our lives….including the devices that haven’t even been invented or become mainstream yet?

Hopefully, someday we will all be watching “Back to the Future IX” and we will chuckle when Marty McFly the third travels back to 2016 and finds out that before “The Internet of Things” really took off people only had three devices each. Oh the hilarity! Let’s hope he doesn’t slip up and accidentally tell us the answer as to how to manage the environmental ramifications of all these devices because he will mess up the space-time continuum….and we all know what happens then!

There is an interesting segment of the Wikipedia about Earth Day Wiki that talks about the predictions from the first Earth Day event in 1970. The predictions were wild and ranged from beliefs such as 80% of all of earth’s animals becoming extinct, to mass starvation and famine all the way to having no crude oil remaining on the planet. Most of these predictions had targeted the year 2000 as to when all of this horror would become reality.

This goes to show that we may not always be the best predictors of what the future holds, but hopefully we are getting better at adapting to change.  Over the last few years, there has been a definite shift in our Clients thought processes about handling assets they no longer need.  Hopefully this will continue and we will somehow find a way to keep adjusting the solutions to keep pace with the rate at which technology is changing.  As they say, only time will tell.

Re-Source Partners is a LANDESK One partner. To learn more, visit the LANDESK One partner page.

  • itsmreview

    Nice read, thanks Mike (read on a mobile device!)