Big business benefits from donating old computers

Sunday, 08 May, 2005

WorkVentures Group, a Sydney-based non-profit enterprise, has come up with a solution to the growing problem of the disposal of used computers that also creates employment and addresses the 'digital divide' in our community by giving financially disadvantaged people access to low-cost computers.

Through its Connect IT initiative, WorkVentures refurbishes used computers and other information technology (IT) equipment donated by businesses, and re-sells them at affordable prices to low-income households, community groups and schools across Australia.

The program has now put to good use more than 2500 computers that were otherwise destined to be dumped in landfill, transforming them into a useful resource and providing jobs at the same time.

For Australian business, the problem of IT waste disposal has a significant financial dimension, with logistical and processing costs associated with recycling IT equipment running at $10 to $15 to recycle a single computer monitor.

Westpac Banking Corporation has donated thousands of used computers to WorkVentures for the Connect IT program, seeing it as a way of making technology more affordable to people on lower incomes and creating positive social outcomes, as well as reducing the amount of waste that is sent to landfill.

Other organisations supporting the program include Microsoft, which donates software for the refurbished computers, Boston Consulting Group, which devised the business plan for Connect IT, as well as Fujitsu, Minter Ellison Lawyers, the New South Wales government, Social Ventures Australia, Australian Teleservices Association and The Smith Family.

Companies wishing to dispose of old computers can call 1800 112 205 or visit www.workventures.com.au/connectit

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