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BYOD: Saving the Planet One Device at a Time

By February 16, 2015Blog

Bring your own device, or BYOD, is one office trend that is quickly gaining popularity. Adopters of this policy use their personal devices for work purposes, rather than the company issuing devoted work devices. Gartner reports that one out of two businesses will require their staff to provide their own devices by 2017.

While employees used to have dumb phones, now nearly everyone has a smartphone that can handle their work load. For example, the iPhone 6 has built-in 4G LTE that provides faster internet connection speeds and a Wi-Fi calling feature that allows for better mobile coverage. And, another huge advantage for BYOD policies is that they are environmentally friendly because they reduce waste and transportation emissions and encourage recycling programs.

Reduced Waste

It makes sense to only run one device per employee as opposed to separate sets for business and work. By eliminating one set, you help reduce the amount of obsolete technology in the future, the amount of raw materials needed to create the device and the energy required to transport it to the end consumer.

Additionally, cellphones contain high amounts of precious metals. Americans throw away over $60 million in gold and silver every year just from their outdated devices, according to DoSomething.org. For every million phones that are recycled, 35,274 pounds of copper, 772 pounds of silver, 75 pounds of gold and 33 pounds of palladium can be recovered. So, by eliminating a device for each employee, companies can be part of the solution instead of the problem.

Less Product Transportation

When buying the latest mobile device, one thing people tend to overlook is the sourcing of raw materials and components that go into their production. These raw materials typically are sourced internationally and need to be shipped to China or other major manufacturing destinations. For example, tantalum is found in such diverse locations as Australia, Brazil, Canada and the Congo, explains Lenntech. Once it is mined in these locations, then it needs to be transported somewhere else to be used.

Furthermore, once the phones are made, they then need to be transported to the wholesalers and then to the retailers and then to the end-consumers. By the time the process is complete, the components have traveled thousands of miles before the phone is even switched on.

Recycling Programs

Some businesses take environmentally-friendly practices a step further by instituting cellphone recycling programs. More than 70 percent of mobile phones can be recycled, but only 14 to 17 percent are recycled annually, explains e-Cycle. Phones contain dangerous substances, such as lithium, cadmium and lead, that can contaminate the soil and groundwater if not disposed of properly. So, these in-company programs ensure that phones are correctly disposed of instead of contaminating landfills.

All major cellular providers have take-back schemes that allow customers to recycle their old phones. For example, if you are buying the new iPhone 6 from T-Mobile, you can hand in your old iPhone 5 for them to recycle for free. Additionally, T-Mobile allows you to turn in cellphone batteries, accessories and tablets to be recycled at any of its locations.

Overall, BYOD is a trend that intends to stay in the workforce. With 90 percent of American employees already using their personal smartphones for work, according to a Cisco survey, BYOD programs can help your employees, profits and the environment.

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