How Big is Your Footprint? Powwownow Walks Ahead

From: Powwownow
Published: Wed May 12 2010

Powwownow provides a free conference call ( ) service which is environmentally friendly in the sense that it encourages people to communicate over distance rather than contributing to CO2 emissions by travelling.

Powwownow’s green commitment extends to day-to-day operations as well. Like any company, Powwownow generates a significant amount of cardboard and paper waste. None of this waste goes to a landfill; rather it is collected by a recycling company - along with drinks cans, food tins, glass bottles, drinks cartons, and even plastic bottles. Printer components such as exhausted toner cartridges and image drums are notoriously hazardous for the environment. Powwownow are careful to only use printers whose manufacturers offer a recycling service for used parts, which are returned to the manufacturer rather than thrown away.

Decommissioned hardware poses an awkward waste disposal problem. Ironically, the very servers which help to reduce CO2 emissions by making conference calling ( )possible pose a potential threat to the environment once they are replaced with more up-to-date technology and become surplus to requirements. Their unwanted servers and network equipment are given to Secure IT Recycling, one of the few companies licensed by the Environment Agency to collect and recycle WEEE ("Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment"). After securely wiping all data, SITR resell any working equipment which is not obsolete and pass on a percentage of the resale value to the donating organisation. Anything else is broken down into its component materials for recycling.

"Reduce, reuse, recycle" is a mantra that is drilled into school children across the country. This mantra is important to Powwownow: recycling is a complicated and labour-intensive process, so if something can be put to another use first and its working life extended, then it should be. This is the principle behind Freecycle (and, in a sense, eBay). Why should a perfectly good desk go to landfill when somebody is setting off (with that inevitable sense of dread) down the Purley Way to Ikea to buy a new desk?

With this in mind, Powwownow came up with an ingenious solution to the growing stockpile of redundant desktops in the office. Rather than have them collected for a fee by SITR, we decided to give them to Powwownow employees in return for donations to Cancer Research UK via JustGiving. Through this scheme, Powwownow have so far given away six second-hand desktops at very reasonable prices, and raised £110 for charity. Web conferencing ( ) provider, Powwownow strives to continue its progress in lessening their environmental impact whilst helping good causes. They are a shining example of how to limit one’s carbon footprint and other companies would do well to follow suit.
Company: Powwownow
Contact Name: Louise Rowlands
Contact Email:
Contact Phone: +44 (0)20 79901165

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