A Business Guide to Sustainable IT Management

In the world of business where innovation and profit often take center stage, there is an emerging focus on a different kind of performance metric – sustainability.

Forward-thinking leaders now understand that long-term success is intertwined with responsible environmental practices. Many of the business decisions you make today will impact your local environment, your employees and consumers, and the global environment over time.

One area that might be overlooked is sustainable IT management . E-waste is the fastest growing waste stream in the world. Even if your business is not using large amounts of electronics, developing a comprehensive strategy for the lifecycle of any hardware within your business can reward you in both the short and long term.

In this post, we review the crucial steps business leaders can take to develop that strategy.

Asset Tracking

Maintain a comprehensive inventory of IT assets to track their lifespan. This helps in not only understanding where your assets are, but also reduces overall costs by maximizing each piece of equipment.

Understanding the average time your assets last and their regular maintenance schedule will also help you make informed decisions when it’s time to purchase anything new.

If your business uses ServiceNow, you’ll want to check out the ReturnCenter app.

Equipment Maintenance, Refurbishment, and Reuse

Keeping your equipment in good condition will ensure that it retains value and will save you from having to replace it sooner than necessary.

Fix things when they break and maintain equipment so that it doesn’t end up in a closet, destined for a landfill. When the time comes to retire it, you will have more options if it is in good working condition.

Plus, you can explore opportunities to refurbish and extend the life of functional IT equipment. This can involve upgrading components or repurposing devices for other departments within the organization.

Lease Return Management

If your business leases equipment, missing return deadlines not only incurs fees, but also lowers the chance that that equipment can be refurbished and reused.

Set up a schedule with reminders to ensure your leased equipment is returned to your leasing company on time and damage free so that they can properly refurbish or reuse it. ReturnCenter can help with that.

Choose a Recycling Partner

Partner with certified e-waste recycling companies to ensure responsible disposal and recycling of old equipment. Select a certified IT asset disposition (ITAD) partner that follows strict environmental and data security standards. Ensure they have robust processes in place for responsible e-waste recycling, data destruction, and asset recovery. Not sure where to start? ReturnCenter can introduce you to certified ITAD companies, ask us.

Define Sustainability Objectives

Equipped with a panoramic understanding of your IT landscape, it’s time to define clear-cut sustainability objectives that align with your overall business strategy.

These objectives may encompass all or just some of what we’ve outlined above. Remember, each business possesses unique characteristics, so tailor your goals to suit your specific needs and priorities.

There are additional initiatives you’ll likely need to consider in regard to sustainability including but not limited to: supply chain, efficient resource management, and other industry specific regulations.

Engage Stakeholders and Employees

Building a culture of sustainability requires engaging stakeholders and employees at all levels. Foster awareness and education by conducting training sessions or workshops, and set up regular communication channels.

Establish a process and standards for electronic devices that are no longer in use. Educate employees about the environmental impact of e-waste and ensure they know your policy on responsible usage and disposal of electronics.

Encourage employees to contribute their ideas and suggestions; they become valuable catalysts for innovation and collective action.

Monitoring, Reporting, and Improving IT Management

To ensure continuous progress, establish a robust monitoring and reporting system for tracking key sustainability metrics. Regularly evaluate performance, identify areas for improvement, and celebrate successes. Through a cycle of refinement, you and your team can achieve greater efficiency, reduce costs, and make a substantial positive impact on the environment.

Business leaders hold immense power in shaping a sustainable future, where technology and environmental stewardship go hand in hand. By incorporating more sustainable practices into hardware lifecycle strategies, organizations can embark on a transformative journey towards long-term success.


At ReturnCenter, our unwavering commitment lies in offering carbon-neutral services seamlessly across all aspects of our business. We’ve moved over two billion pounds of equipment through a circular economy.

We also offer companies our box program which includes all the services that make it easy for you to recover, recycle, or return IT equipment in any US zip code. This service includes professional-grade boxes and shipping kits, fulfillment, and carbon neutral shipping.

We recognize the importance of IT sustainability. Reach out to us for guidance on sustainable net-zero IT logistics, reducing e-waste, finding sustainable partners, or implementing broader sustainability practices.

Together, we can build a brighter future for generations to come. Get in touch.

Join #NationalScavengerHuntDay with ReturnCenter’s sustainable quest

Join forces with ReturnCenter on #NationalScavengerHuntDay

Hello eco-enthusiasts! Are you ready to celebrate #NationalScavengerHuntDay in a sustainable way? We’re excited to bring you an 8-item scavenger hunt focused on embracing sustainability. When we make small steps together, we take an incredible journey, so let’s go.

1. Locate a recycling bin: Kick off your scavenger hunt by finding a recycling bin in your neighborhood. It’s a small but essential step towards a more sustainable lifestyle.

2. Spot an electric vehicle charging station: Electric vehicles are gaining popularity as a cleaner alternative to traditional cars. Find a charging station nearby and snap a photo.

3. Discover a thrift store: Thrifting is an eco-friendly way to shop, as it promotes reuse and reduces waste. Visit a local thrift store and share your unique find on social media.

4. Find a community garden: Community gardens promote sustainable practices and strengthen community bonds. Locate one in your area and take a picture or lend a hand in the gardening efforts.

5. Identify a zero-waste store: Zero-waste stores are popping up everywhere, offering eco-friendly products and packaging. Find one in your town and make a sustainable purchase.

6. Use Returncenter to recycle an old cell phone or laptop: Dig out that old phone or laptop that’s been gathering dust and recycle it through ReturnCenter, start here.

7. Capture a photo of a public transportation option: Public transportation helps reduce emissions and traffic congestion. Take a picture of a bus, train, or bike-sharing station in your community.

8. Plant a seed: Conclude your scavenger hunt by nurturing new life. Plant a seed in a pot or your garden to contribute to a greener planet.

And that’s your 8-item sustainable scavenger hunt! Share your progress on social media using the hashtag #GreenScavengerHunt and tag ReturnCenter to encourage others to participate. Together, we can make a positive impact on our environment.

Embracing sustainable living: e-waste solutions

Simple, actionable steps for tackling e-waste

Ever feel bombarded with “go green” tips that leave you more eco-frazzled than eco-friendly? We feel you! But don’t lose hope, because we’ve got just the remedy. We’re cutting through the noise to bring you simple, actionable steps for tackling e-waste.

With these easy-to-implement strategies that stretch from your home well into your community, you can make a tangible impact on the environment, one recycled gadget at a time.

Adopt a Minimalist Mindset

One of the key steps to managing e-waste is reevaluating our consumption habits. By adopting a minimalist mindset, you can make more conscious decisions when purchasing new devices. Prioritize quality over quantity and avoid impulse buys, ensuring you make the most out of your electronics and reduce waste in the long run.

Extend the Life of Your Electronics

Take good care of your devices to maximize their lifespan. Regular maintenance, software updates, and proper storage can help prevent the need for frequent replacements. When issues arise, consider repairing instead of automatically buying a new device.

Utilize ReturnCenter for E-Waste Recycling

When it’s time to retire your old cell phones, laptops, or tablets, use ReturnCenter’s simple process to recycle your devices securely while supporting your chosen charity. Our ethical approach to e-recycling ensures you’re contributing to a more sustainable future. Get started here.

Encourage Local Businesses to Adopt Sustainable Practices

Support local businesses that prioritize sustainable practices and responsible e-waste management. Encourage businesses in your community to explore recycling options like ReturnCenter and promote the use of refurbished or recycled electronic products.

Advocate for Sustainable Policies

Use your voice to advocate for policies that promote responsible e-waste management and support a circular economy. Engage with local government representatives to raise awareness about the importance of e-recycling and the need for better infrastructure and regulations.

Educate and Inspire

Share your knowledge about sustainable living and e-waste management with friends, family, and colleagues. Use social media platforms to spread the word about the importance of responsible e-recycling and how services like ReturnCenter can make a difference.

By taking these steps to incorporate sustainable living practices into your personal life and community, you can make a meaningful impact on the global e-waste crisis. ReturnCenter is here to support your journey towards responsible e-recycling and charitable giving, empowering you to create a cleaner, greener world for future generations.

Understanding the precious metals in our devices, and why it matters.

What’s really at your fingertips? Get to know the precious metals that run our gadgets

No one can argue that we take our phones, laptops and tablets for granted, but have you ever considered all the components that keep them running? These personal devices are treasure troves of precious metals.

These materials are essential for the functionality of electronic components, but their extraction has significant global consequences.

Here are just a few:

Gold: Gold is an excellent conductor of electricity, making it crucial for connectors and circuit boards. However, gold mining often leads to deforestation, water pollution, and mercury contamination, posing risks to both the environment and human health.

Silver: Silver’s high conductivity makes it an indispensable component in switches and contacts. Unfortunately, silver mining generates hazardous waste and contributes to water pollution and habitat destruction.

Platinum and Palladium: These metals are essential for capacitors and hard drives, but their extraction contributes to air and water pollution, as well as the destruction of ecosystems.

The Realities of E-Waste and the Promise of Responsible Recycling

The improper disposal of e-waste exacerbates these environmental and health issues. However, despite the grim realities of e-waste, there is hope in responsible recycling. ReturnCenter offers a secure and ethical solution for processing old cell phones, tablets, and laptops, ensuring that precious metals are recovered and repurposed. Our process not only protects the environment but also supports charitable causes with any remaining value from the recycled electronics.

How ReturnCenter Can Make a Difference

By choosing ReturnCenter, you can contribute to a brighter future for our planet and its inhabitants. Our platform allows users to:

Send in old devices securely and easily, with free shipping labels and convenient drop-off options.

Ensure proper disposal and recycling of devices, reducing the harmful impacts of e-waste on the environment and human health.

Support charities with any remaining value from the recycled personal devices. Get started here

The challenges posed by e-waste and the extraction of precious metals from old cell phones and laptops are undeniable. However, with responsible recycling and solutions like ReturnCenter, we can create a more sustainable future for our planet.

By participating in ethical e-recycling, we not only protect the environment and conserve valuable resources but also support causes that matter to us.

Together, we can turn the tide on e-waste and create a world where technology and sustainability coexist.

Slow living: the TikTok trend promoting personal and environmental wellbeing

Impakter, March 12, 2023, Olivia Fowler

Never has the phrase “time is money” been more true than it is today. It’s a known fact that the world of work can be overwhelming and competitive, but when hustle culture encourages us to work all the hours given to us, is it any wonder that Gen Z – the youngest members of the workforce – are already claiming to be burnt out?

Users on TikTok say they have found the antidote. It’s called “slow living,” and it’s wildly popular with over 500 million views under the hashtag #slowliving. It promotes “living intentionally,” creating better work-life balances, and the idea that we should make more time in our lives for reflection.

On TikTok, this can include spending time on creative pursuits, going for long walks in nature or journaling. There are even several users, such as @wai.iti.ridge, who live completely self-sufficiently by growing their own food and generating their own energy.

According to Slow Living LDN, a group that helps people get into a more laid-back lifestyle, slow living also encourages downtime from technology. This makes its popularity on TikTok rather ironic because many of the platform’s users find a video longer than one minute “stressful.”

The videos on TikTok are also carefully created to look a certain way, saturated with greenery and natural earthy tones, with one user saying she uses the image-based social network, Pinterest, to curate the image she’s aspiring to.

The movement is homogenous too, with the majority of content creators being young, white, and middle-class women.

Is slow living sustainable living?

Perhaps TikTok has removed some of the integrity from the movement, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a useful counteragent to the real issues of burnout and stress facing the modern workforce. 

The movement has its roots in the 80s, when Carlo Petrini, aiming to protect regional food traditions in response to a McDonald’s opening in the centre of Rome, founded the movement he named Slow Food,” a play on “fast-food” which is typically served in restaurants like McDonald’s.

Slow living is an extension of the Slow Food movement. As Slow Living LDN says, it’s about promoting a “meaningful and conscious” lifestyle, cutting back on consumption, and not spending as much time on things that don’t make us happy.

To access the full article, click here.


As climate changes, climate anxiety rises in youth

March 2, 2023,  CBS News, David Schechter, Haley Rush, Chance Horner

Kids often worry about much different things than their parents do. One of the big ones is climate change. Research shows most youth are “extremely worried” about it, leading to a phenomenon called climate anxiety. Kids and young adults who struggle with this can perceive they have no future or that humanity is doomed.

“We see that a lot of young people are saying, I think my life will be worse than my parents’ lives,” said Dr. Sarah Schwartz, a professor of psychology at Suffolk University in Boston.

A study published last year collected attitudes about climate change from 10,000 people across the world, aged 16-25.

In the survey, 59% of youth and young adults said they were very or extremely worried about climate change and more than 45% said their feelings about climate change negatively affected their daily life and functioning.

“So, they know that the world is going to get to be a harder, darker, scarier place,” said Schwartz. “And imagining themselves in that world feels really scary for them.”

The study also revealed how climate change makes young people feel. In all countries surveyed, nearly 62% said they were anxious about climate change. About 67% said they were sad and afraid.

Schwartz is researching climate anxiety. She said it’s not a diagnosis, but a valid response to the current situation in the world, and her research shows that three-quarters of young people report worrying about climate change.

“I don’t think it makes sense as a disorder because, again, that one assumes that this is a psychopathology of a few rather than the majority,” said Schwartz. “And then the goal is that it is this individual disorder, where we treat at the individual level rather than address the societal issues and the environmental issues.

“People should be talking about it more since it’s their planet,” said high school student Johanna Flores. “They should be worried about their health.”

Flores lives in Chelsea, Massachusetts, just outside Boston, where she said there is so much jet fuel, road salt and heating oil stored on the river it’s hard for some residents to even get close to the water.

“And you wouldn’t see that in a white neighborhood, like you would see a beautiful view of the water,” said 15-year-old Darien Rodriguez, who also lives in Chelsea. “You wouldn’t see any industries, any like smoke and pollution.”

The students are environmental activists at a non-profit called GreenRoots. They work alongside adults, advocating for environmental justice in their hometown by educating and empowering others to get involved.

To access the full article, click here.

This student was overwhelmed by ‘alarmist’ environmental education. So she designed her own college course.

19thnews.org, February 24, 2023, Jessica Kutz

Sage Lenier’s sustainability course at UC Berkeley focuses on solutions. Now she’s launching a nonprofit to equip students with the knowledge to help solve the climate crisis.

Sage Lenier attended her first environmental class as a high schooler in Corona, California in 2015. It was an AP course that addressed some of the urgent problems facing the natural world, issues like biodiversity loss, climate change and the ravages of industrial scale farming.

One lecture stood out to her in particular: The teacher told the class about the crisis of topsoil loss, or the layer of dirt where most plants — including the crops we eat — grow and flourish. According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization, the world is expecting to lose 90 percent of its topsoil by 2050 if countries don’t take action.

She remembers her teacher talking about this fact almost casually, pointing out that once we’ve depleted the topsoil, people will face extreme hunger. Lenier wanted to know what governments were doing about it, but her teacher’s answer was disappointing: World leaders would need to cooperate politically on an international scale that had never before been accomplished. In short, the planet was screwed.

The whole class made her feel helpless.

“I was really, really panicked, obviously,” Lenier said over a Zoom call. “Environmental education as it stands is extremely alarmist, and I was freaking out.”

Her best friend dropped the course because she found it too depressing. Lenier also felt scared by what she was learning about the future of the planet. Instead of ruminating in that fear, Lenier began to wonder what she could do to change things. Her parents and friends weren’t talking about these issues, and this was a few years before the climate youth strikes had raised the profile on the climate crisis.

“I was really confused, really panicked, and wanted to do something,” she said. “What I realized is that maybe our biggest problem is that no one knows any of this stuff.”

After she graduated high school, Lenier began to develop the kind of curriculum she wanted to be taught — one focused on solutions. The University of California, Berkeley, where Lenier attended, offers a unique opportunity for students to teach their own university courses. The classes vary in subject matter from the whimsical — think Harry Potter — to the technical, like computer coding and software engineering, but they all have to meet academic standards to be certified and sponsored by a faculty member.

To access the full article, click here.


Electric vehicle batteries require precious minerals. That old cellphone may be the solution

ABC News, February 12, 2023, Morgan Korn

That old laptop, cellphone and TV remote may have a newfound purpose: powering the next generation of electric vehicles.

Luxury brand Audi recently partnered with Redwood Materials, a battery recycling startup, to collect rechargeable batteries found in everyday consumer devices — phones, hearing aides, electric toothbrushes and video game controllers. At least 10 Audi dealerships in the U.S. have so far opted into the burgeoning program, with more expected to join in the coming months.

Devices dropped off at dealerships are shipped to Redwood’s Nevada facilities for the sorting, recycling and remanufacturing of cobalt and lithium — two minerals required for EV battery production.

Audi is the first automaker to partner with Redwood to “support the collection of household lithium-ion batteries alongside larger EV battery recycling efforts,” according to a spokesperson.

Five percent of vehicles sold in the U.S. last year were EVs, a percentage that will rapidly increase as less expensive models arrive on the market and Americans become more familiar with charging. Growing interest in EVs has accelerated the push for valuable minerals like cobalt, nickel and lithium that are extracted from overseas mines at heavy environmental and humanitarian costs.

Recycling of consumer batteries can reduce the forced extraction of precious minerals and create a domestic supply that meets the government’s and automakers’ EV goals, according to Alexis Georgeson, Redwood’s vice president of government relations and communications.

“The U.S. is one of the largest consumers of lithium-ion devices,” she told ABC News. “Consumers are itching to get rid of these devices. There’s a tremendous opportunity for recycling.”

To access the full article, click here. 

ReturnCenter: changing the way the world solves personal device e-waste. For people & planet.

Meet ReturnCenter: the answer to personal device e-waste

Meet ReturnCenter, the answer to e-waste. Our mission is to make e-waste recycling easy and accessible, creating a more circular economy. With a fast and friendly interface, we finally have an answer to the two questions plaguing junk drawer owners across America, what should I do with this old thing, and why does it matter?

The E-Waste Challenge

E-waste is the fastest-growing waste stream globally, with an estimated 53.6 million metric tons generated in 2019 alone (The Global E-waste Monitor, 2020). The rapid evolution of technology and the increasing demand for new devices have contributed to the growing problem of e-waste. Unfortunately, only 17.4% of this waste is formally documented and properly recycled.

These devices contain harmful substances such as lead, mercury, and cadmium, which can leach into soil and water, contaminating ecosystems and entering our food chain. This pollution results in serious health hazards, including cancer, respiratory issues, and neurological damage, particularly for those working in informal e-waste recycling sectors.

Furthermore, precious materials like gold, silver, and copper are lost, with the UN estimating that e-waste contains $57 billion worth of recoverable materials that go to waste annually. The improper handling of e-waste exacerbates environmental degradation, endangers human health, and squanders valuable resources that could be reused to reduce the demand for virgin materials.

Ethical E-Recycling Made Easy, from ReturnCenter

Our user-friendly platform allows you to send in your used electronics with just a few steps. Here’s how it works:

  1. Find that device that has been hanging around collecting dust.
  2. Select where you would like the recycled value to be donated.
  3. We’ll send you a pre-addressed envelope where you can place your device and send it on its way to be recycled.

By using ReturnCenter, you’re not only helping to reduce e-waste but also supporting charitable causes that matter to you.

Why Choose Us?

ReturnCenter stands out for its commitment to both the environment and community. Here are some reasons to choose us for your e-recycling needs:

Environmentally responsible: We and our partners adhere to the highest environmental standards for recycling and disposing of e-waste, ensuring the least possible impact on our planet.

Charitable giving: Any remaining value of your electronics is donated to a charity of your choice, extending the impact of recycling your device and creating an even brighter future.

Convenience: Our user-friendly platform and easy shipping process make it simple for you to recycle your devices from the comfort of your home.

By using ReturnCenter, you can contribute to a sustainable future, support charitable causes, and help raise awareness about the importance of proper e-waste management. Stay tuned for future blog posts, where we will share more insights, tips, and updates on our journey to make the world a greener and more compassionate place.

Get started on your device return.