Business Tech

Microsoft Aims to be Zero Waste by 2030

Microsoft Aims to be Zero Waste by 2030 - Appy Pie

Microsoft announced on Wednesday that the company plans to stop generating trash from its operations by 2030. The company has also pledged to stop using single-use plastics in its packaging by 2025. The company will set up what it’s calling “circular centers” to allow the company to reuse or recycle 90% of its waste on site. This would help the company in avoiding sending its waste to third party recyclers.

One of the main items that will be recycled in-house are the servers used in Microsoft’s data centers. The company also pledged to eliminate waste from its own manufacturing process, although its suppliers won’t be expected to stick to the same zero waste goal as Microsoft.

Last year, Microsoft’s largest office complexes sent 3189 metric tons of waste to landfills. The new commitment aims to bring that down to zero over the next decade. However, compared to trash coming from Microsoft’s offices, e-waste from the gadgets that Microsoft and other manufacturers produce is a much bigger problem. According to a report released in July, people tossed out a record 53.6 million metric tons of e-waste globally in 2019.

Scott Cassel, who founded the nonprofit Product Stewardship Institute, said in a July interview after the release of the global e-waste report, “Electronics companies do a great job of designing for pleasure and efficiency, but the rapid change in consumer demand also means that they’re designing for obsolescence. So today’s newest, coolest product becomes tomorrow’s junk.”

Cassel and other advocates have pushed electronics companies to design their products to last longer and to collect and recycle devices they make at the end of their useful lives. Other advocacy groups like US PIRG have called out Microsoft for pushing back against proposed right to repair laws, which would require companies to release information on its products that would let consumers do repairs on their own or through third parties. Advocates for right to repair laws say that they could help keep products in use and keep them out of landfills.

Microsoft tells The Verge that its renewed focus on cutting down waste hasn’t changed its stance when it comes to the right to repair. However, the company has designed its Surface Laptop and Surface Pro X so that they are easier than previous models to take apart and fix.

Brian Janous, Microsoft’s general manager of energy and sustainability said, “We are absolutely committed to increasing the repairability of our own products, but also try to balance other aspects such as safety, and durability, and of course — probably most importantly for us — privacy and security. This is sort of our first step in a journey.”

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