||Environmental Benefits of Reuse|
For more than two decades, the National Cristina Foundation has been
advocating for the reuse of technology to improve the lives of those in need.,
We are pleased that an increasing number of organizations have joined this
effort and are also promoting responsible reuse to benefit
individuals and communities throughout the country.
This year, Earth Day events throughout the United States reminded all of us
of the current ecological and societal impact of reuse and the immense work that
lies ahead. While the National Cristina Foundation’s primary motivation has
always been to advance training, improve independence and provide hope to people
who might not otherwise have access to computers, copiers and fax machines we have also continually
placed importance on the environmental benefits of our work.
office equipment donations not only empower people, but they also keep working
equipment out of local landfills. This is significant, as many electronic products
contain lead, mercury, cadmium, other metals, and a range of toxic plastics. The
negative health impacts of lead are well documented, and just 1/70th of a
teaspoon of mercury can make the fish in a 20 acre lake unfit to eat.
According to the Computer Take Back Campaign:
Studies estimate that 315 to 600 million desktop and laptop
computers in the U.S. will soon be obsolete. Discarded computers and other
consumer electronics…are the fastest growing portion of our waste stream --
growing almost 3 times faster than our overall municipal waste stream. One
report estimates that a pile of these obsolete computers would reach a mile high
and cover six acres. That's the same as a 22-story pile of e-waste covering the
entire 472 square miles of the City of Los Angeles.
From our vantage point, that’s a serious problem in need of a long-term
solution! We are doing our part through the National Cristina Foundation partner
network by connecting donors and those seeking technology. Our partner base is
In an effort to further promote and advocate office equipment reuse, we are pleased
to be an endorser of the WasteWise Program, coordinated by the US
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This Coalition was formed in March 2005
at the conclusion of the EPA’s National Electronics Meeting –an event that
brought together a range of stakeholders interested in the proper handling of
electronic waste or e-waste. The groups in attendance agreed that the best
disposal option for most working equipment prior to recycling is reuse by
The goal of the Coalition is to promote the option of reuse for electronic
equipment as part of the national e-waste agenda. In addition to the US EPA and
the National Cristina Foundation, other members of this coalition include
representatives from: CompuMentor, Computer Recycling for Education, Computers
for Schools, Goodwill, Hargadon Computers, Intel, and StRUT. The Computer Reuse
Coalition has been meeting on a monthly basis for almost a year.
The EPA’s participation in the Computer Reuse Coalition is part of their
Plug-In to eCycling program, which aims to increase the safe recycling
and reuse of used electronic products.
The Coalition has worked with the EPA to create a short guide to used
equipment disposal called, Do the PC Thing (Download);
which provides general information and resources on how best to donate
technology to those that need it most.
|A corresponding video developed by
EPA’s Plug-In To eCycling program provides a platform for leaders in the
technology field to speak to the promise that reuse offers to individuals and
communities around the US. The video also outlines the proper steps for how to
donate equipment for reuse. To download the shorter version (approx. 50
seconds), click here.
To view the full-length video (approx. 7 min.) see www.epa.gov/epaoswer/osw/
information on collection events supported by Plug-In partners and tools for
reuse is available at www.epa.gov/passiton
For working computers, reuse is the only clear option, not only on Earth Day,
but throughout the year. As always, donations can be made at any time through
our website at https://www.cristina.org/dsf/.
Give us your comments about what you have had to consider when faced with the
need to dispose of your used computer equipment.