Cody Horchak 3 min read

Retrofitting Access Control Part 5: Waste Not, Want Not

This is part 5 of a daily series on challenging conventions in the access control world and retrofitting our perspective on what’s best for people, businesses, buildings, and the world. Click here to start the series from the beginning. Stay tuned for part 6 on procedures coming tomorrow.

A topic that’s not discussed nearly enough in the world of access control is the sheer amount of waste the industry generates.

Access control systems are made of electronic components and plastics which not only require a lot of natural resources and fossil fuel emission to create and ship but also usually end up right in the landfill once we choose to get rid of them. E-waste represents up to 2% of the trash in America’s landfills and accounts for 70% of our toxic waste that’s going back into the environment.

Societal norms are shifting, which means we’re all looking for ways to minimize our environmental impact. Consider how a relatively small choice in your access control solution can make a huge difference in our world.

Reduce, Reuse, Upcycle

If you choose to replace your current access control system with a new one, you’re essentially deciding to turn all your existing infrastructure into trash.

Only about 12.5% of e-waste gets recycled. There is a reason why recycling is the final component of the big “Three R’s”, after reducing and reusing. It’s simply less effective.

All the wiring, panels, readers, magnetic keys, and fobs… it represents enormous amounts of material that we often don’t see or think about because it’s hidden away behind walls or in our wallets, but this doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

Fortunately, access control equipment is a perfect option for this kind of refurbishment. It experiences relatively little wear and tear, and can often last decades with minimal maintenance costs.

Instead of tearing what you have out of the walls and putting it into a dumpster, a capital-light retrofit can keep it working like new and even add all the features of a modern access control network, which can, in turn, make your organization even greener and less wasteful.

For example, an updated ‘smart’ access control system can read and interpret digital credentials from a smartphone instead of needing to regularly purchase mountains of access badges and fobs. And the real-time data available from this retrofitted technology can translate into smarter buildings and lower energy usage.

It all adds up to less waste for the environment—not to mention less waste for your budget!