The government should step in to give businesses incentives to re-deploy their old IT equipment, a charity said this week.
Computer Aid International, which provides refurbished computers to developing countries, said that although many companies recycle components and materials in their computers, reusing them is far more energy-efficient.
"There is such a massive demand in Africa and South America from schools and hospitals for equipment, while we in the UK are getting rid of millions of computers every year and only a tiny minority is being responsibly reused. We would like to see the government create more incentives for companies to reuse their equipment in this way," said Anja Ffrench, director of marketing and communucations, speaking in a video debate for the British Computer Society (watch video below).
Around 75% of a PC's lifetime energy use is consumed in its manufacture, making it more energy-efficient to reuse rather than recycle, the video claims.
Kate Craig-Wood, managing director of green hosting company Memset and a member of the BCS Data Centre Specialist Group, said there was a financial incentive for companies to use their IT equipment efficiently. "Everything is being pushed back to the datacentre, and in that market the people with the lowest costs will win, and the people with the lowest costs will be the people who use their equipment most efficiently."
IT departments can convert PCs into thin clients to extend the life of their machines, and could consider donating old machines to organisations in the developing world, the BCS said.