July 23, 2009 – Welland Tribune Features RCT Niagara`s eRoundup efforts, an event designed to promote the proper recycling/reuse of technology by allowing local residents to drop off their surplus tech items.


NIAGARA – In a perfect world, you could drag your whole computer into the “trash” file when it became obsolete and the technology that created the computer would make it magically disappear.

In the real world, thousands of tonnes of plastic, circuit boards, monitors and printers currently take up space on basement shelves and in storage closets across the planet.

Go to any garage sale and these technological dinosaurs cry out for an owner — but in today`s rapidly advancing technological world, they remain orphans in place of the next faster, bigger and better model.

Throw in new legislation that prevents landfill sites from becoming “techno” grave yards and you may just have gotten stuck with the biggest paperweight collection known to man.

That is just what Renewed Computer Technology is hoping to avoid.

The Welland-based company is a non-profit business that exists to take your old computer and find a new home for it.

Those computers that cannot be successfully recycled are disposed of ethically, in a manner mindful of the environmental “footprint” that new technology can leave behind.

Let`s face it, technology has big feet.

Some of the things that go into making electronics include arsenic, polyvinyl chloride, mercury, nickel, lead, cadmium and PCBs. The rate at which these machines roll off the assembly line is mind-boggling.

Dave Wakeling, regional manager at RCT, said technology is doubling its capacity every 18 months and prices are falling proportionately to entice consumers. What was brand new, state-of-the-art equipment just three short years ago, RCT is now giving away to local schools.

Wakeling said it`s a vicious cycle: the faster the computer, the more sophisticated the software and on and on …

He said many schools that are using antiquated equipment are lining up at RCT`s door to receive refurbished Pentium 4 computers with XP Windows software — all completely legit.

Their biggest donors are corporate, but a new program was quietly launched by RCT yesterday that tries to solve the recycling side of the problem. If the computer or monitor is new enough, the company can even write a tax receipt for the donor.

The program is known as e-Roundup, but it is actually just a way of properly disposing of older monitors, computer towers and printers that are laying around the house collecting dust.

Operating out of Unit 11B at 129 Hagar St., the company was accepting computers and printers yesterday in a pilot project that will help it decide how to structure future roundups.

“We did very little advertising for today,” Wakeling said. “Mostly word of mouth and a little social networking.”

Still, people were coming and dropping stuff off.

“We`re testing the waters to see how it goes,” he said.

In 2007-08, RCT — which operates out of several sites in Ontario — diverted more than 450,000 kilograms of e-waste from landfills. It was also able to donate 17,033 computers. View the full article.