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Donate Your Old Office Equipment

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 constantly growing.

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 others.

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/ conserve/plugin/pcthing.htm.

Additional 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.

National Cristina Foundation
National Cristina Foundation

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