Software and tech giant Microsoft has announced a commitment to zero waste from its direct operations, products and packaging by 2030 as part of the company’s sustainability strategy. And, employees’ own waste outputs will also be targeted.
The tech giant additionally outlined yesterday (5 August) how it was to implement ‘Microsoft Circular Centers’ at its datacentres, eliminate single use plastics in packaging by 2025 and “transform its waste accounting” by digitising its data, a $30 million investment via the company’s Climate Innovation Fund.
Brad Smith, the company’s president, said: “Our zero-waste goal is the third sprint in Microsoft’s broad environmental sustainability initiative launched earlier this year focusing on carbon, water, ecosystems and waste.
“We are setting ambitious goals for each and empowering our customers with the technology and our learnings to do the same.
“To address our own waste creation, Microsoft will reduce nearly as much waste as we generate while reusing, repurposing or recycling our solid, compost, electronics, construction and demolition, and hazardous wastes.
“We’ll do this by building first-of-their-kind Microsoft Circular Centers to reuse and repurpose servers and hardware in our datacenters.
“We’ll also eliminate single-use plastics in our packaging and use technology to improve our waste accounting. We will make new investments in Closed Loop Partners’ funds. And finally, we’ll enlist our own employees to reduce their own waste footprints.”
Microsoft says that by 2030 it will divert at least 90% of the solid waste headed to landfills and incineration from its campuses and datacentres.
It has committed to manufacturing 100% recyclable Surface devices, a series of touchscreen-based personal computers and interactive whiteboards designed and developed by the company.
Microsoft says it will use 100% recyclable packaging in OECD countries and achieve, at a minimum, 75% diversion of construction and demolition waste for all projects.
And, the company says it is to invest $30 million in investment firm Closed Loop Partners’ funds to help accelerate the infrastructure, innovation and business models for supply chain digitisation, e-waste collection, food waste reduction, and recycling industry products.
To show employees the impact of their actions and how much waste they generate, Microsoft says it is developing an internal Power BI waste data dashboard. The dashboard will display the average waste generated per employee and can be used to test effectiveness of waste reduction campaigns, implementation of waste prevention initiatives and more.
To reduce waste, Microsoft plans to repurpose and recycle its servers through ‘Microsoft Circular Centers’, which it says will be located first on new major datacentre campuses or regions and eventually added to existing ones.
Using machine learning, Microsoft says it will process servers and hardware decommissioned onsite. It says it will sort the pieces that can be reused and repurposed by the company and its customers or sold.
Microsoft says it expects its Circular Centers to increase the reuse of its servers and components by up to 90% by 2025.
Microsoft says it is investing to digitise waste data across the company to identify opportunities to improve waste data collection.
This digital solutions for its operations will include technology to track and report on dashboard waste, Power BI platforms for e-waste chain-of-custody and improving Power Apps which help Microsoft capture real-time waste data, the company says.