Centre keeps circuits running

University of Otago desktop support specialists Matt Hall  and Simon Hogh have recycled hundreds...
University of Otago desktop support specialists Matt Hall and Simon Hogh have recycled hundreds of computers at the E-Waste and E-Cycle Centre. Photo: Linda Robertson
Three years after  opening, an E-Waste and E-Cycle Centre is helping the University of Otago make the most of its electronic resources - and schools and community organisations, including Search and Rescue, are also reaping the benefits.

A university statement said that in 2017 alone, hundreds of computers were recycled through the centre, which would have cost hundreds of thousands of dollars if they had been bought new.

ITS manager of desktop support  Philippa Hawker said PCs, Macs, LCDs and hundreds of cables and adaptors were reused on campus when departments needed new equipment. Hard drives were erased, protecting confidential information.

In 2017, 118 monitors were reused, adding a value of about $22,774 to the university, Mrs Hawker said.

"We also recycled 214 desktops and 35 laptops internally. This provided additional IT resources to staff and postgraduate students, and if entry-level devices had been purchased instead it would have represented a cost of approximately $225,032."

The centre  was established in response to a need at the university and took a couple of years to set up, she said.

"Technology dates pretty quickly," she said.

"It stops stuff from going to the landfill."

Dunedin North Intermediate, Logan Park High School and King’s High School were among the schools that had been given technology that was no longer suitable for use at the university or was not needed.

Otago Coastal Search and Rescue co-ordinator Sergeant Richard Panting also said the E-Waste Centre had provided computers to seven Search and Rescue groups, helping them provide real-time live tracking across the region.

Mrs Hawker said the E-Waste and E-Cycle Centre dealt with technology from university departments but did not take students’ computers or other technology, or the demand on the service would be far too high.

The centre employed one part-time E-Waste and E-Cycle support worker, Dave Rae, who was assisted by two desktop support specialists, Simon Hogh and Matt Hall.

The E-Waste and E-Cycle Centre initiative had been "very successful" so far and was a "real team effort", she said.

"We are very proud of the service," Mrs Hawker said.

"We are very busy, and we are getting busier."

Mr Hogh said it was more financially viable for the centre to give some items away than it was to recycle them. For instance, screens that were too small for the university to use might be suitable for schoolchildren.

The centre had a "freecycle" box where university students could collect some of the electronic items they needed, but Mr Hall said laptops were not often recycled through the scheme. 


Should be more of this done....as it invents an enterprise