Uncovering the Hidden Costs of New Hardware

Posted by The Team at CXtec on Feb 14, 2023 7:16:53 AM

There’s no denying that shiny new things have a distinct allure. It’s hard not to be drawn to the latest state-of-the-art...

There’s no denying that shiny new things have a distinct allure. It’s hard not to be drawn to the latest state-of-the-art hardware, gadgets, and technology. Upgrading to new hardware is often touted as the best option for its improved performance, functionality, and competitive edge.

On the one hand, it may seem like an attractive deal. On the other hand, few are aware of many hidden consequences of new hardware on our environment and the economy. The way I see it - it’s about time companies realize the surprising realities of new hardware upgrades and invest in other equally effective hardware options.

I have listed down a few key pointers that delve deeper into the impact of buying new hardware. Let’s take a look.

1. High tech, high carbon

Here’s how the cycle goes: you invest in new hardware and use it until it’s eventually time to replace it with the latest hardware. Usually, the OEMs suggest you invest in new hardware as it’s their primary source of profit. They also pre-maturely declare hardware as obsolete, promoting forced upgrades. But, this practice carries a steep environmental cost.

For the uninitiated, IT equipment production is highly energy-intensive and involves processing core minerals and rare earth elements. This continuous manufacturing releases harmful greenhouse gases, generates toxic waste and contributes to environmental pollution. Hardware parts are further shipped for assembly, leading to high carbon emissions and an increased carbon footprint for the company.

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2. Growing e-waste pile

As I mentioned, companies are quick to toss old hardware and invest in new ones. But do you know that most old hardware ends up in landfills? This severely compromises environmental health by exposing air, soil, and water to dangerous chemicals and heavy metals.

A report I came across highlights - global e-waste, including discarded electronic products with a battery or plug, is making its way to the top and will reach 74 Mt by 2030, becoming the fastest-growing waste stream in the world.

3. Never-ending global demand

The insatiable thirst for the latest hardware combined with shorter product life cycles leads to increased global hardware demand. The more you invest in the latest hardware with new high-performing features, and designs, the more need it creates for manufacturers to produce new equipment. But, this vicious cycle of demand and supply comes with a high cost to the environment and society.

First, it leads to the overproduction of hardware which can significantly upset the delicate ecological balance and lead to resource depletion. Second, it creates a shift in mindset among consumers as they are constantly seeking value in new equipment and don’t consider other sustainable options.

4. Throwaway culture on the rise

Consumerist culture is soaring thanks to clever marketing tactics and deceptive advertising. Businesses feel like they are missing out on high performance and will lack a competitive edge if they don’t invest in the latest hardware. But nothing could be further from the truth.

Prioritizing short-lived products not only harms the environment but also leads to a loss of long-term economic opportunities. This is because the continuous manufacturing of new hardware brings down the demand for older hardware, leading to a major drop in its overall value.

Break the Cycle: Invest in Sustainable Alternatives

Simply put, there are environment-friendly alternatives to new hardware, such as investing in refurbished hardware, which can help you put an end to the unstoppable demand for new hardware. Pre-owned hardware performs just as well as new ones and is extensively tested to ensure it takes on the high pressure of an IT environment. The cherry on top? With refurbished hardware, you can reduce your carbon footprint while enjoying massive cost savings. It’s a win-win situation.

Next time you’re in the market for new hardware, I’d recommend you take the time to assess the carbon footprint of your purchase and the impact it has on the overall economy. Being mindful of your choices can benefit the planet, your IT infrastructure, and the business’s bottom line.

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