Mountains of IT waste from Birmingham have been diverted from landfill thanks to the UK’s first doorstep collection and recycling service for unwanted computers and IT equipment.
The initiative, co-ordinated by Birmingham City Council, Digital Birmingham and computer recycling firm Secure IT Disposals, also means businesses in the city can take advantage of the UK’s first computer recycling scheme offering data destruction guaranteed to MoD standards.
Secure IT Disposals, which is based at Woodgate Business Park, has so far collected around 15,000 pieces of unwanted IT equipment from Birmingham businesses and schools, alongside running 108 residential collections for which a nominal £15 fee is charged for four items. 49 of these collections were made free of charge for registered disabled people.
All equipment collected under the residential scheme that is still in a useable condition is offered to local charities or community groups free of charge whilst the original owners can rest assured that any personal data is completely and permanently erased.
“‘End of life’ solutions for IT equipment are a pressing problem,” said Coun Paul Tilsley, Birmingham City Council deputy leader, who is head of Digital Birmingham, a partnership aims to establish Birmingham as a leading European digital city by 2010.
“Research last year showed that only 20 per cent of the six million items of electronic equipment thrown away annually are recycled. “This initiative with Secure IT makes us one of the leading UK authorities to address the issue of IT waste, and it’s heartening to see that it’s been so enthusiastically taken up by businesses and residents.”
The donated equipment makes a big contribution to the local community. After it has been checked and cleaned by Secure IT it is passed to ENTA CIC, a local training provider that works in some of Birmingham’s most disadvantaged wards and provides training to equip people to enter employment or further development. Much of the equipment is refurbished and tested and 220 former city council computers have been sold to benefit recipients via a neighbourhood shop, Community Computers, which opened in the Shard End district in November last year.
This scheme, which is supported by Service Birmingham and Secure IT, enables PCs and laptops - which come fully equipped with free Microsoft software - to be sold at a greatly reduced cost to people who otherwise would not be able to afford them
Furthermore, as direct result of the recycling initiative, Secure IT has increased its staff by 40 per cent.