Sachi Thompson
Chief Operating Officer

Planned Obsolescence & End of Life: Bad for Your Budget and the Environment


“Planned obsolescence” is one of those over-used business strategy terms. It basically explains how products can be designed to become useless, unfashionable, or obsolete. It ensures that the customer will almost always buy new. And now, unfortunately, it also means that “unfashionable” equipment will pile up in a landfill at an alarming rate.

I don’t know about you, but “planned obsolescence” reminds me of “End of Life.” The end-of-life process, according to Cisco’s website, “consists of a series of technical and business milestones and activities that, once completed, make a product obsolete.” Planned obsolescence and End of Life procedures have one huge thing in common: they both dictate the exact time in which your still-useful equipment will be considered, well… “waste.”

Now, we understand that plenty of equipment deemed “obsolete” is still useful and retains market value for years after its supposed “End of Life” date. Extending the life of your equipment can save your company a lot of money. But do you realize what it can do for the environment?

E-waste is the enormous collection of computers, televisions, mobile devices, and all electronics including—yep you guessed it—your networking equipment that have all been discarded and dumped into landfills worldwide.

What makes e-waste different from other garbage is its toxicity. Discarded electronics contain toxic materials that seep out and contaminate the environment.

According to a study conducted by a partnership of United Nations organizations, electronic waste generated worldwide is expected to climb by 33% by 2017 to 65 million tons. The rate of technological innovation continues to increase rapidly, which, unfortunately, means that the landfills full of e-waste are increasing rapidly as well. This combined with planned obsolescence and other premature “End of Life” processes account for harmful electronic waste that is becoming an increasing threat to the environment.  

What’s worse is that so much of this equipment that’s taking up space in landfills worldwide shouldn’t have been thrown away in the first place. In fact, the United States Environmental Protection Agency confirms that a lot of what is labeled as “e-waste” is actually not waste at all—it  is whole electronic equipment or parts that are readily marketable for reuse.

And that’s where we come in. We’re looking forward, and we want that future to be green. We have a long history of refurbishing and reselling IT equipment, and we’ve been committed to developing programs that allow you to keep and recycle your equipment –instead of adding it to the landfills. Last year, Curvature saved 3,640,630 lbs. of potential e-waste from landfills.

Don’t let your OEM’s tell you that your equipment belongs with those 65 million tons of e-waste. Planned obsolescence and premature upgrades are dangerous habits that can end up being toxic for the environment your future. Look at your network differently so you can leave behind your legacy, not your waste.

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