Groups gain from university e-cycling

Student IT desk worker Alex McKirdy with some of the computers destined for schools, and other...
Student IT desk worker Alex McKirdy with some of the computers destined for schools, and other parts of the University of Otago. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
Orokonui Ecosanctuary, as well as local schools, were among the beneficiaries of the University of Otago's E-Cycling centre last year.

The centre recycled 1232 computers - both laptops and desktops in 2018 - and saved the university about $260,000.

Pieces of equipment thrown out by university departments not wanted elsewhere in the university were given to students and external parties such as local schools as well as the wildlife sanctuary.

Orokonui general manager Amanda Symon said, in the past two years, Orokonui had received about four laptops, at a total value of about $5000, which were used for administration work.

"It's really good to have that."

Team leader for distribution Justin Elliott said members of the university always got "first dibs".

What equipment was available depended on what was happening at the time. Last year, the redevelopment of the dental school meant 150 desktop fans became available, and about 40 desktop computers.

In total in 2018, 3055 items including computers, printers, monitors and audiovisual equipment, were taken into the e-waste and e-recycling centre.

Nearly 1600 - 1586 - were sent to be disposed of at Cargill Enterprises, and the university found a use for the others either at the university or in the community.

"[Numbers of pieces of equipment] are up slightly, and it's sort of been a steady increase," he said.

The life of a computer at the university was about five or six years before it had to be replaced, Mr Elliott said.

The centre did not accept machines from students - but students who wanted some electronic items that were not needed by the university, including computers, could come to the centre and pick them up.

There always seemed to be more laptop cases than laptops - and surplus cases were given to schools in the Pacific Islands.

The centre has been operating since 2014.

Mr Elliott said, over the life of the centre, computers had been given to places including George Street Normal School, St Mary's School, Search and Rescue, Arai Te Uru Kokiri Training centre.

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