"Unfortunately, whilst anything to do with energy-efficiency has become cool and sexy over last couple of years, electronic waste - like pretty much all waste - is the uninteresting, unsexy, dirty end of the equation that nobody wants to get at. But it's a huge problem, a substantial and material environmental impact of IT," he says. "Often we find organizations have done a huge amount on energy-efficiency and relatively little on electronic waste, in which case what they've got is a partial environmental program or in fact strictly just an efficiency program."
Part of the challenge is cost. "E-waste is one of those areas for which if you do the right thing, it's probably going to cost you money," Mingay says.
And simply passing along your outdated gear for another's use isn't necessarily good environmental policy, either, Mingay cautions. A lot of those items will end up in developing countries, which rarely if ever have the infrastructure in place to handle electronics recycling. "In the end, they'll end up in a landfill anyways," he says.
Enterprises can find "good" disposal practices for their electronic equipment through BAN's e-Stewards Initiative, which offers a recycler certification and guidelines through the associated e-Stewards Standard for the Responsible Recycling and Reuse of Electronic Equipment, Mingay recommends.
In their own words: "The Converge service has provided a global solution for recycling and remarketing our e-waste compliantly and reducing our overall environmental impact."
Using a local recycler, "allows us to safely dispose of technology products that are past usefulness with a vendor that is trusted and proven over the course of time."
People's picks: CSC Enterprise Print Solutions, EMC Documentum, HP Secure Print Advantage, Notable Solutions AutoStore, Xerox Enterprise Print Services and SMARTdocument Travel
What makes it green: How much environmental impact going paperless will have on your enterprise is highly dependent on the nature of your business. "But given that the paper industry is a massive consumer of energy and significant producer of greenhouse gas emissions ... everyone and anyone should be looking at paper as an area of their business to which they should potentially be paying attention," Gartner's Mingay says.
"And while we can argue whether paper is an IT or a business issue, the reality is that fixing it usually falls to IT," he adds.