ICT can tremendously change someone’s life: it can enable people to access the information they need, create a living through online business, and teach life skills to give people a better chance to be employed.
Computer Aid takes the equipment, data-wipes it, cleanses it and sends it to different programmes across the world. Through donating IT equipment, companies can support Computer Aid’s projects in education, health, agriculture, gender equality, governance and post-crisis relief.
This is only a summary of what refurbished PCs can do but here are 3 reasons why donating PCs can not only help people, but also the environment:
1. Reusing is better than recycling
Donating equipment also means extending the lifespan of a PC and reducing the amount of e-waste. Computer Aid distributes computer equipment only through responsible partner organisations, who they directly advise on the recycling of all computers at the end of their life.
While reusing PCs with Computer Aid helps to expand access to ICT in developing countries, it also ensures the most environmentally friendly solution for unwanted computers in the UK, since reuse is far better for the environment than recycling.
As much as 80% of the energy used across a PC's working life is expended during its manufacture before it is even switched on for the first time. By donating to Computer Aid, IT departments can ensure the greenest outcome for their spare PCs and laptops. This makes that refurbishing a computer is 20 times more energy efficient than recycling it.
Reusing a computer is both socially and environmentally responsible. Most UK businesses upgrade PCs every 3 years. By refurbishing redundant equipment Computer Aid can extend its life for another 3-4 years. This is enough time to train 60 children to a vocational level of IT literacy on one machine.
2. End-of-Life PCs recycling creates jobs
Whilst ICT provides many benefits, its end of life disposal is a major global problem. Part of Computer Aid’s mission is to avoid dumping in a landfill and recycle the equipment in sustainable ways. For this reason, we have helped establish recycling facilities in Kenya and Chile, and endeavor to replicate such facilities in other developing countries. Establishing such facilities requires great investment which many poorer countries simply cannot afford.
Belgium based NGO, Close the Gap, with whom Computer Aid has a partnership agreement, has an e-certificate system through which companies donating computers can also purchase e-certificates from them, to offset their e-waste footprint.
E-certificate payments are used directly to fund the setting up of e-waste management centers in developing countries where e-waste is recycled in a scientific and sustainable way. This not only helps the environment by ensuring that hazardous e-waste doesn’t end up in landfills but at the same time helps to generate jobs for the growth of local economy. Companies also have greater control over where and how their IT equipment is handled when it reaches the end of its usable life.
3. Donated PCs help sustainable development
During the past years, Computer Aid has supplied IT equipment to a lot of sustainable community projects. One of these projects is the “Community Engagement for Sustainable Development” project (ECDD) in the Comoro Islands, operated by the local charity Dahari. “Dahari” means “sustainable” in Comorian and their projects aim at developing a model for community landscape management, integrating improved livelihoods and the sustainable management of natural resources – soil, water, forest, and biodiversity.
The ECDD project will now be continued in other villages and islands of the Comoros with a focus on biodiversity, rural development, and ecotourism.
Find out more about how you can help us to improve the impact of IT on the environment and how we can help build stronger communities all around the world through new technologies.
Liesbeth Van den Bossche – Former Marketing and Donations Officer at Computer Aid International