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Microsoft building a large recycling center for thousands of old servers

In the first attempts, Microsoft naturally had good experiences with recycling the numerous servers from its data centers. Now there will be a large center that will exclusively do this work. The recycling center will be established in Quincy in Microsoft’s home state of Washington.

On nearly 2,000 square meters, technicians and other employees will ensure that the disused servers from the group’s data centers are processed or dismantled and used for other purposes. This is reported by the local business magazine Business Journal Microsoft is trying to recycle almost all servers in the future
The required on-site approval processes had already been completed in May, so construction of the plant can now begin. Microsoft draws on the experience of a pilot project in the Netherlands, where the processing of old hardware in a circular center started in 2020. Microsoft has set itself the goal of removing at least 90 percent of cloud computing hardware from e-waste by 2025.

Sometimes a donation, sometimes a raw material

The majority of the servers, which are no longer suitable for further use in a high-end data center, are processed as a complete system. Here, data is then deleted and any defective parts replaced. Microsoft then makes these devices available at a discount or as a donation to educational or charitable causes.

However, not all servers can be given a second life in this way – because the gigantic data centers of the major cloud providers produce large numbers of discarded devices. Therefore, the other computers are disassembled. Some components are therefore recycled by electronics manufacturers and everything that can no longer be used in another way goes to raw material recycling.

Mark Goodman

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