Research Hub > The Smart Path to Tech Upgrades: Balancing Costs & Environmental Responsibility
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The Smart Path to Tech Upgrades: Balancing Costs & Environmental Responsibility

Take a strategic approach to technology upgrades that aligns with the demands of data protection, fiscal responsibility and ecological integrity.

In a growing state of environmental concern and awareness, sustainability is rapidly moving up the priority list for enterprises and their leadership. Driven by an environmentally-conscious consumer base and partner ecosystem, Gartner lists environmental sustainability as one of the top 10 business concerns reshaping enterprise tech in 2024.

At the same time, the rapid pace of technological change in the midst of an economic downturn means businesses are continually challenged to manage and update their IT infrastructure assets wisely. CEOs, chief sustainability officers, IT leadership and facilities directors all grapple with the pressure to innovate sustainably while maintaining cost-efficiency.

Sustainability Compliance Considerations

California has consistently been a trailblazer in establishing environmental and corporate responsibility policies that serve as benchmarks for the rest of the United States. With its pioneering regulatory frameworks, such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), and stringent electronic waste recycling standards, the state sets a high bar for both environmental stewardship and data protection.

These regulations not only encourage the development of green technologies but also push businesses to incorporate sustainable practices into their core operations. Consequently, these policies drive a nationwide ripple effect, prompting other states to consider similar measures to maintain competitive parity and address the growing demand for environmentally conscious business models.

Building on the momentum of sustainability in legislative measures, the Legacy IT Reduction Act of 2022 is a bill that aims to expedite the modernization of federal legacy IT systems, making it effectively mandatory. This landmark act underscores the pressing need to replace outdated technology with more efficient, secure and environmentally friendly alternatives. As a result, the adoption of information technology asset disposition (ITAD) practices is likely to surge, with federal agencies seeking to align with the act's directives. This shift promises to set a precedent for IT lifecycle management, demonstrating the importance of integrating environmental considerations into technology strategies. With such policies in place, ITAD becomes not just a best practice but a mandatory step in the oversight of technology assets.

The Intersection of Sustainability and ITAD

ITAD embodies a strategic approach to technology upgrades that aligns with the demands of data protection, fiscal responsibility and ecological integrity. These practices serve a critical role in the process of managing the retirement of outdated or redundant IT equipment in a way that maximizes data security, ensures environmental responsibility and promotes value recovery. As an integral part of sustainable IT practices, ITAD provides businesses with a clear pathway to responsibly dispose of electronic waste while mitigating risks associated with data breaches and improper handling of assets.

3 Core Components of an ITAD Program

1. Redeployment: Devices that are still functional and meet an organization's requirements can be redeployed. Instead of disposing of the assets, they are reallocated to different departments or employees. One benefit of ITAD redeployment is cost savings, as it allows organizations to make the most of their existing assets. It also contributes to sustainability by extending the useful life of IT equipment and diverting electronic waste from the waste stream.

2. Remarketing: Retired IT assets can be resold to the open market. The goal is to recover some initial investment by selling functional equipment to other businesses or individuals. Devices are boxed with proper kitting and sold to wholesale buyers. Remarketing also contributes to environmental sustainability by extending the useful life of IT equipment and diverting electronic waste from the waste stream, while promoting a circular economy of reuse.

3. Recycling: Recycling breaks IT equipment down into its basic components to extract valuable materials. This is often the last resort when assets are no longer functional or sustainable for redeployment or remarketing. Recycling helps prevent environmental impact by properly disposing of electronic waste and recovering materials that can be recycled back into the manufacturing of goods.

Navigating Challenges and Pain Points

We understand that your organization may face a multitude of challenges when it comes to technology upgrades, including the need to remain compliant with ever-evolving regulations, manage costs and uphold environmental responsibility. Ultimately, many businesses struggle to reconcile IT sustainability with operational imperatives. You may encounter the following challenges within your own organization:

  • Relevancy: Sustainability may not be seen directly as a business driver.

  • Storage Constraints: Space management becomes an issue when storing devices for recycling.

  • Trusted Partnership: Finding a reliable partner for ITAD is crucial but challenging.

  • Data Security: Companies want to be sure that all sensitive data is irretrievably erased or destroyed.

  • Customer Expectations: Companies must meet their customers' sustainability expectations.

  • Cost Management: Balancing the cost of modernization while maximizing device utility spans multiple considerations.

  • Redeployment vs. Recycling: Effective ITAD involves more than disposal; it extends to redeployment and maximizing the life cycle of IT assets.

ITAD Services: A Holistic Approach

CDW's robust ITAD program alleviates these pain points by offering a pathway that not only meets legislative requirements but also supports the demand for sustainable practices. Our ITAD program promises several benefits:

1. Data Security: Ensuring data is irretrievably erased before disposal or redeployment.

2. Compliance: Adhering to EPA guidelines and sustaining a zero-landfill policy.

3. Logistics: Providing seamless service for the removal and processing of outdated equipment.

4. Rebate: Offering financial incentives for recovered value from resold hardware, which can further fund technological investments through CDW.

CDW's Commitment to Sustainable Progress

As CDW forges ahead with its own sustainability journey, we stand ready to help you make informed, responsible technology upgrades. From providing energy-efficient options to overseeing the entire ITAD process, we are dedicated to delivering solutions that are economically beneficial, with a keen eye on security, compliance and environmental impact.

Join the ranks of those leading the charge toward a greener, more cost-effective future. Explore ITAD services through CDW and discover how you can elevate your business's technology while honoring your commitment to the planet.


Schneider Electric and APC delivers greater energy efficiency, fewer hazardous substances and eco-friendly recycling and disposal options.

John Coleman

Director of Strategic Intiatives
John Coleman is the director of strategic initiatives within CDW’s Product & Partner Management organization, where he leads efforts around customer-facing sustainability solutions and assists with client AI hardware roadmap development.