The much-anticipated Internet of Things (IoT) will bring 30 billion connected devices onto the global market by 2020, raising serious concerns about the e-waste that will result from a technology trend that will also help businesses cut their carbon footprints.
“A range of technologies that sit under the broad umbrella of IoT can play a role in helping businesses reduce their carbon footprints.” Computerworld notes. A 2013 report by Carbon War Room and AT&T projects that the Internet of Things “could slash global greenhouse gas emissions by 9.1 billion tonnes by 2020, the equivalent to 18.6% of global greenhouse emissions in 2011.”
Carbon War Room also concluded that machine-to-machine technologies “can facilitate smart grid-based efficiencies in the energy sector, optimize transportation and logistics, cut the energy footprint of buildings, and slash greenhouse gas emissions in the agriculture sector.”
But “what happens to these sensors, once they go into the waste bin?” asks Bettina Tratz-Ryan, research vice-president and green IT specialist at Gartner. “Are they ending up in landfills? If they’re embedded in these objects and technologies, it’s almost impossible to recycle them.”