Waste is a hot topic, but certainly not a recent one. SOTI’s study “Reduce, Reuse, Rethink: From a Discard Mentality to Technological Sustainability” looks at the recycling of mobile and electronic devices.
Unnecessary electronic waste
Too many mobile devices are thrown away while still working well. Our study shows that 55% of electronic devices are thrown away unnecessarily. This figure reaches 60% for rugged computers, 65% for tablets and 69% for smartphones.
Moreover, this replacement is often planned. In 52% of cases, devices are discarded on a pre-determined date rather than when they stop working. In other words, companies program the obsolescence of their mobile devices and create avoidable additional costs.
This is because it is easier for CIOs and CFOs to assume that devices will stop working or become obsolete sooner than expected. Therefore, it is faster and more convenient to replace them than to extend their life, recycle or reuse them. But while replacing a single phone too early has no real impact, replacing thousands or millions has a significant impact on a company’s finances and environment.
Finding a balance between productivity and sustainability
On average, companies replace their smartphones every 2.42 years. By 2025, this figure is expected to drop to 2.28 years. And in 45% of cases, phones are replaced simply because a newer model is available.
In the past, the goal of companies was to make electronic devices last as long as possible. Today, it’s more about getting the latest model as soon as it’s available. But that raises questions. Does having a new device necessarily contribute to user productivity? If so, does this productivity compensate for the additional cost of the purchase? And is this choice compatible with green computing?
For companies, the challenge is to find a balance between productivity and durability without prematurely throwing away devices to have a state-of-the-art device.
Sustainability is a matter of mindset
The first step to reducing e-waste is to change the mindset of companies about device deployment. Let’s take an example: a company thinks that a device battery problem automatically means that the device itself needs to be replaced, and therefore the device should be discarded.
Of course, it is easy to do this. But this is neither economical nor ecological. Battery issues are a common problem among professional mobile device users. Nearly 80% of businesses experience a mid-day battery drain, and when this happens, workers lose an average of 50 minutes of productivity. Keeping batteries healthy and devices online is a top priority, but replacing the device isn’t always the solution. Tracking a device’s health is easy with an intelligent diagnostic tool, helping to minimize downtime while maximizing productivity and return on investment (ROI).
Such tools allow companies to examine all batteries and replace only those that are necessary, while adopting environmentally responsible behaviors. Based on specific and accurate data, companies can rethink their management of electronic devices and the recycling of mobile devices.
With the adoption of enterprise mobility management (EMM) strategies, there are ways to preserve, maintain, diagnose, secure, and repair legacy devices. Thanks to this strategy, companies can increase their digital culture and the lifespan of their mobile devices, while helping to preserve the environment.
Companies have economic, environmental and productivity objectives. Today, some mobile device management practices serve neither the economic interests nor the environmental goals of the company and the planet. Better mobile fleet management should enable companies to advance their sustainability and economic performance goals at the same time.