The Green Grid has launched a new metric to help organisations measure how their electronic equipment is managed once it reaches end-of-current-use. The Green Grid is the global authority on ICT resource efficiency, particularly in data centres, but the Electronics Disposal Efficiency (EDE) is the first universal metric launched by the organisation to help ICT users to improve their equipment disposal processes over time.
The EDE metric is defined by calculating the percentage, based on unit or product weight, of decommissioned IT Electronics and Electrical Equipment (EEE) at its end-of-current-use (EOCU) or end-of-life (EOL) that is disposed of through known responsible entities.
So the basic equation is:
Wt”Responsibly Disposed” is the total weight of decommissioned IT EEE at its EOCU or EOL that is managed through known responsible entities.
Total Wt”Disposed” is the total weight of decommissioned IT EEE at its EOCU or EOL.
The Green Grid defines ‘responsibly disposed’ as generally meaning that material is delivered to a third party that has been certified under appropriate electronics recycling standards by a third-party certification body that has been accredited by a recognised accreditation organisation. There’s much more detail about the metric and its use in the associated White Paper: Electronic Disposal Efficiency (EDE): An IT Recycling Metric for Enterprises and Data Centres.
Note that ‘responsible disposal’ includes anything that avoids going to landfill or incineration. The Green Grid points out that organisations may, for their own management purposes, separately calculate the various types of responsible disposal, e.g., whole system reuse, component reuse or recycling). And if a piece of IT EEE is going to be repurposed or reused within an organisation, that piece of IT EEE should not be considered in metric calculations in the first place.
The EDE metric is intended to be used by organisations to measure themselves and improve over time, rather than as a comparison with other entities.
Kathrin Winkler, EMC representative and Board Member of The Green Grid said “The Green Grid isn’t trying to redefine any domain-specific terminology in the WEEE arena. Our goal was to leverage the great work that has already been done by experts in the field and apply The Green Grid’s organisational experience with defining and implementing metrics in order to create a measurement and management structure around it. Our hope is that the EDE metric will incent positive behaviour and influence change on a global scale and that organisations will be more aware of waste streams, ultimately helping them reduce waste in the future.”
Review: This is a very welcome move by The Green Grid and should certainly help to raise awareness of the ‘responsible disposal’ of equipment that’s no longer needed for its original purpose.
Much of the focus on greening data centres has actually been related to saving energy and hence reducing costs. In terms of IT equipment that means procuring more energy efficient servers and other equipment. Much less consideration has been given to what happens when the electronics at their end of life. Often it’s handed back to the original supplier, but there are lots of situations when disposal is a lot less transparent. Even the strict WEEE regulations in Europe have not prevented equipment being shipped abroad for unsafe recycling. The EDE metric should help push companies into more responsible decision making, particularly since, whatever The Green Grid says, the metric will no doubt be used to compare companies.
My one reservation is that within the EDE metric all responsible disposal is considered equal. There is, though, a clear hierarchy of preferred methods, with reuse much more environmentally-friendly than recycling, for example. It’s clear the metric is primarily trying to avoid the worst case scenario, but ideally we should be focussing on best practise and taking into account the ideal solution. That’s much more complicated to measure, though, and perhaps something for the (near) future.