About

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eReuse is a student-run social enterprise with the goal of creating a fully contained, local e-waste management system for Sydney. With recycling businesses already available, our focus is on re-use.

Background

We discovered only 10% of the 4 million computers sold this year will end up being recycled in Australia. The rest will become e-waste, which will be discarded as landfill or exported to other countries.

E-waste (electronic waste such as disposed computers, televisions) causes severe environmental and public health damage in landfills, largely in developing nations. It is the world’s fastest growing waste stream. Its effects are largely unknown and undocumented, and will only increase with the technological age and the steps taken to regulate it are dismal at best as the issue is not largely addressed.

At the same time, we learnt that almost 20% of Australians do not have access to a computer at home, and it is most likely those with lower incomes.

What We Do

Our project involves creating a computer re-use network that connects unwanted computers to socio-economically disadvantaged groups. The computers will always be donated as we provide a service for businesses and organisations that wish to dispose of their e-waste responsibly.

When we receive the donations, our computers are refurbished at workshops held at the Michael Crouch Innovation Centre (MCIC @ UNSW) and the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT@UNSW) with a dedicated pool of computer enthusiasts sourced by PCSoc (an affiliated UNSW Student Society). Afterwards, we upload them to our shop with the important specifications. The money we make from selling our computers will be reinvested back into our operations, to cover costs and pay for new parts to fix and upgrade damaged computers.

Links to more information:

eReuse has received very positive feedback and encouragement from these organisations in the social service sector as to the demand amongst socio-economically disadvantaged groups for the service we offer. We are determined to continually improve and offer these services to a wider group.

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eReuse staff and volunteers at a refurbishment session at the Michael Crouch Innovation Centre

References

  • PGM Refiners, Australian E-Waste Statistics. http://www.pgmrefiners.com/about-e-waste/australia-ewaste-statistics/
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics, Household Use of Information Technology, Australia, 2010-11. http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Latestproducts/4E4D83E02F39FC32CA25796600152BF4?opendocument