Circular economy at work in Google data centers

Image: Google

Google Circular economy at work in Google data centers

Global business has a key role to play in moving from an economy based upon a ‘take­ make­ dispose’ model to one based on a restorative and regenerative system. The linear model is reaching its physical limits: Recent data shows that in 2015, global demand for resources was equivalent to 1.5 times what earth can support in one year.

Google believes in the democratizing effect of putting knowledge in the hands of everyone, and is organizing the world's information and making it universally accessible. The company is committed to doing that in a way that has a positive impact on the planet.

A circular economy is restorative and regenerative by design, and aims to keep products, components and materials at their highest utility and value at all times. Key elements of the circular economy model optimise resources by circulating products, components and materials in use through different loops of the use cycle:

  • Maintain / Prolong
  • Reuse/ Redistribute
  • Refurbish/ Remanufacture
  • Recycle

Google’s global partnership with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation is supporting Google to build on existing practices and embed circular economic principles into the fabric of Google’s infrastructure, operations and culture. 

There is no better example of how Google is implementing circular economy strategy at scale than how the company manages the hardware inside its data centers. This case study reviews the practices that have been implemented through maintenance, refurbishment/remanufacturing, redistribution/secondary market sales and recycling. These practices combined with Google’s circular approach to optimizing end of life of servers based on Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) principles have resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars per year in cost avoidance.

Read the full case study


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