The rapid pace of technological change is creating a new market for scrap metal recyclers as investment in cloud infrastructure continues to surge and the market for data center equipment is expected to grow.
In a recent report about the emergence of cloud recycling, The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) points out that cloud servers typically have a lifespan of just three years, and data center equipment contains components such as processors and fans that can be stripped out and resold in the electronics market, thus diverting valuable materials like aluminum, copper and steel from landfill.
According to WSJ, companies like Sims Metal Management and Electronic Recyclers International (ERI) are involved in separate trial projects to handle the recycling of small amounts of cloud-computing material in the U.S. Those pilots come on the heels of scrap metal companies seeking to strengthen profits that have been hit by trade barriers and weak commodity prices.
WSJ has more information:
The world’s $300 billion scrap-metal market is looking beyond junked cars and copy machines to a new prize: the cloud.
Large data centers are mushrooming in number as global demand grows for storage of everything from emails to videogames. Investment in cloud infrastructure has surged since 2015, and the market for data-center equipment is expected to grow at an average annualized rate of roughly 16% this year and next, according to Citigroup Inc.
Cloud servers, though, typically have a lifespan of only about three years, according to experts, meaning that some of the earliest equipment already has passed its use-by date. The rapid pace of technological change is creating a new market for companies such as Sims Metal Management Ltd. SMSMY -0.98% —one of America’s biggest recyclers by volume—and California-based Electronic Recyclers International Inc., known as ERI.