Ah, spring -- time to oil up the ol' mitt for some baseball, scrape the gunk off the grill for some barbecue, stock up on Claritin for some allergies, and of course, for some spring cleaning. Sure, you could round up the Tribble-sized dust bunnies from beneath your desk and get rid of that half-empty soda can that's become a breeding ground for a strange new life-form. But it's also a great occasion to tackle a bigger mess: all that old, unused IT equipment.
An office can become a veritable wasteland of superfluous computers, monitors, printers, portable devices, and the like. Sure, it might be easy to ignore all that clutter, but you may be pleasantly surprised by just how rewarding it can be to gather up that old gear and either put it to good reuse or dispose of it -- in a secure and environmentally friendly way, of course.
To begin, it's likely your organization is wasting precious dollars to power machines that simply aren't being used. Old computers and monitors could be sitting in uninhabited offices or cubicles, draining power and collecting dust. An idle daisy-wheel printer might be sitting ignored, yet powered up, in the copy room beside the shiny new MFP. Just how much of a difference can these electricity vampires make on your electric bill? Consider this: Health care company GlaxoSmithKline managed to collect some 5.8 tons of old IT equipment last year from two of its office buildings in Philadelphia. According to the company, simply unplugging all of that old gear reduced annual energy consumption by 190,442 kWh, which adds up to $21,000 in annual cost savings -- not to mention the associated reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.
The potential savings don't end there: Not all the PCs you find will be of the pre-Windows 3.0 variety. It's possible you'll discover computers that are perfectly fine to meet the needs of end-users who are due for an upgrade. Voila! You've spared your IT budget a hit by not purchasing a new machine.
Then again, you may find machines that are of no use to anyone at your organization. Even so, there's a chance to reap rewards for your IT clean-up effort. For starters, there's a market for pre-owned IT gear. Hardware vendors like HP and Sun will give you cash and/or trade-in credit for old equipment. You might also consider turning to a third-party ITAD (IT asset disposal) provider like Intechra and PlanITROI, who can help you figure out the value of your gear, then sell it for you at a negotiated price. (ITAD providers can also assist in responsibly recycling those electronics that can't be reused. I'll get to that in a moment.)