This article was originally written by Peter Wells for the UNSW IT Blog
eReuse is a UNSW student start-up and not-for-profit organisation with the goal of supporting a sustainable e-waste management system. The program, funded by Arc, has recently launched as a pilot, and UNSW IT are proud to be able to support the initiative.
eReuse has a two main goals. The first is to reduce the amount of e-waste filling up landfills across Australia by breathing new life into “old but good” computer equipment. At the same time, eReuse hopes help bridge the digital divide by getting that computing equipment into the hands of disadvantaged families.
Emma Bayliss-Chan is co-ordinating the project. “We noticed that with the rise of technology also came the rise of e-waste and discovered only 10% of the 4 million computers sold in a 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. At the same time, we learnt that almost 20% of Australians do not have access to a computer at home, the main reasons being a low socio economic background or geographical constraints.”
Bayliss-Chan notes the program has evolved during the pilot period. “We initially started as a social enterprise project in student organisation Enactus, then we transitioned to a not for profit incorporation and now we have just partnered with Arc as a pilot volunteer program so we have an exciting journey ahead of us.”
Ian Summers from Desktop Services said UNSW IT will support eReuse by supplying older PCs that would normally be disposed. “It’s the students at eReuse that have the knowledge and process for wiping the PCs and preparing them for release to the communities they’ve engaged with,” Summer’s said. “The community engagements are not easy to establish, it was a significant amount of work to build the relationships and trust that’s in place.”
And if you’ve got working computer equipment you’d like to donate yourself, eReuse would love to hear from you. “The wider UNSW Community can also help by dropping off any unwanted computers, peripherals, technology in general at the MCIC e-waste recycling bin.”