If the lane behind your house looks anything like mine, it’s generally lined with stuff set out for a trip to the landfill. Sadly, the furniture, clothing and building materials that I see on a weekly basis really don’t belong buried in the ground, as they can still be used.
Often punctuating the piles of cast offs are consumer electronic items, which are full of nasty stuff. I was pleased to learn today that the Jewish Educational Alliance and Goodwill Industries of the Coastal Empire are teaming up to steer desktops, laptops, monitors and keyboards away from the landfill and toward refurbishment and resale.
While electronic recycling events happen locally at various times of year, the interesting thing about this alliance is the placement of a bin in the lobby of the JEA. This makes it easier for donors to send their old computer gear to a better place at their convenience, instead of having it sit around gathering dust until the next electronics recycling day.
There’s an obvious environmental benefit in this program, but it also achieves economic sustainability goals as well, since the donated computers offer “opportunities for low-income families to purchase professionally refurbished PC systems at a price they can afford.” That’s in addition to the core mission of Goodwill: providing “job training, employment services, job placement opportunities and post employment support to strengthen communities and families by training people to become independent, tax-paying members of society.”
Donors can also rest assured that although their computers will be reused, their data won’t be. Goodwill’s hard drive wiping protocol uses “one of several programs, which are approved by the United States Department of Defense.”