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More and more companies are exchanging their own data centres and devices for the cloud. However, equipment for large data centres has a short lifespan, creating an entirely new market. The market of cloud-recycling.

Among other things, cloud servers have a very short lifespan, according to experts versus The Wall Street Journal. The servers often last only three years, which means that some of the earliest equipment has come to an end.

Rapid technological developments and the associated rapid changes in equipment are creating a new market. Companies such as Sims Metal Management – the largest recycler of volume in the US – and Electronic Recyclers International (ERI) also focus on the recycling of such equipment.

2 million tonnes

The equipment from data centres contains various components that can be valuable. Processors and fans can be resold. In addition, they contain metals such as aluminium, copper and steel, which can become valuable now that they are more widely used.

Sims Metal Management and ERI each do trials with recycling small amounts of material from cloud computing equipment in the US. They expect volumes to increase rapidly in the coming years. For example, Sims Metal Management CEO Alistair Field expects 2 million tonnes of obsolete equipment to be recycled by the middle of the next decade.

Figures from large cloud companies support that. Amazon, Microsoft and Google together spent more than 60 billion dollars in 2018, 50 percent more than a year earlier, on such equipment. The three companies are upgrading and expanding their data centres.

Companies want to recycle

The problem, however, is that the equipment in the data centres can contain sensitive data. This makes it difficult to renounce it. Google wants to recycle and resell, and Microsoft is also doing more and more to recycle, reuse and resell components from its cloud infrastructure.

This means that recycling companies can charge a premium price for the security of the data on the obsolete equipment. There is more profit to be made from this.

This news article was automatically translated from Dutch to give Techzine.eu a head start. All news articles after September 1, 2019 are written in native English and NOT translated. All our background stories are written in native English as well. For more information read our launch article.