Reducing computer waste: reduce, reuse and recycle
Also, How to donate and how to get used computers.
Computers and electronics produce tons of waste, some of it very toxic. Surplus computers and monitors can be recycled or refurbished and provided to a family or service organization desperately in need of technology. Below are a few links to recycling programs and non-profits that help get used equipment into the hands of needy residents here and elsewhere. The City of Seattle recycles its surplus computers and makes them available to Seattle schools and non-profit organizations. Some recyclers charge a required disposal or an administrative fee. For the non-profit recyclers, the fees reduce their costs and help support community learning programs.
The City has worked with a few local recyclers who also distribute computers to organizations or families and teach people to use them. These include:
Interconnection.org, Seattle Community Network, WildTech and the OnIT Foundation.
Nationally, TechSoup has been helping develop the electronics reuse field. Their work is also twofold: divert significantly greater amounts of discarded material from landfills to reduce toxic computer waste, and create positive social change by making discarded computers available to schools, nonprofits, and low-income families.
See more about their program, tips for reducing computer waste and info about software for non-profits at http://www.techsoup.org/recycle/index.cfm.
At the Seattle-King County Take It Back Network you can look up how to recycle elctronics and where.
Free City Surplus Computers
The City surpluses hundreds of computers each year. These computers, which are usually about three years old, are provided for free to Seattle based nonprofit human service agencies and schools that serve Seattle residents. If your group is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that serves Seattle residents, you may be eligible to receive surplus computers. For more information, email or call Erin Bryant at (206) 386-1001 or download an application from the Web.
Where you can donate or get free or low-cost computers
InterConnection works to make Internet technology accessible to underserved populations both locally and globally. From their home in Seattle, they refurbish and distribute computers around the world. InterConnection operates the Computer Reuse and Learning Center (CRLC) in Seattle. Along with refurbishing computers for non-profits, InterConnection teaches computer maintenance and repair skills to local community members, donates computers to people who volunteer at the CRLC, runs a virtual volunteer program, conducts training, and provides a means for recycling non-working or old computers and monitors.
SCN Computer Giveaway
The Computer Giveaway Project has been part of Seattle Community Network (SCN), a free ISP, since 1994 and the computers have always been given away free. SCN remains, as always, an all-volunteer project. Though agencies have first priority, individuals can also request computers. If you belong to a technology center, community group, church, daycare center or school and would like to find computers for your families, SCN would be happy to work with you. Contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The On It Foundation
The On It Foundation (Opportunities Necessary to Increase Technology) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization provide free in-home computers, via donation of surplus and purchased computers, to low-income families with students in grades K-12 that reside within the U.S. To qualify for a free in-home computer, the student must receive a free or reduced school lunch from his/her public school. They also provide training in some areas.
For those individuals that do not qualify for a free in-home computer, the On It Foundation offers the Jump On It Program, a computer guarantee program that allows all individuals to purchase a computer, regardless of credit.
The On It Foundation provides in-home computer training and free Internet access to those in some areas. In addition, the On It Foundation works in partnership with local CTCs, digital divide organizations and initiatives, churches and schools.