Computer recycling partnership clicks for Oxfam and Rehab
If you’re looking for a laptop or desktop computer, but are keeping a close eye on costs, Oxfam and Rehab may have an answer for you.
A new partnership between the two organisations supplies refurbished PCs to Oxfam, which sells them through an initiative called Born Again Computers in its charity shops across Ireland, at prices starting at €120 for a desktop, and €150 for a laptop.
The majority of the PCs come from Irish businesses who either donate, or are paid a nominal price for their computers, when they are refreshing their IT equipment.
Rehab takes in PCs from some of the biggest technology companies in the country – for example, they have a long-standing relationship with Dell and even set up a Polish Rehab operation to be able to recycle equipment from Dell’s Polish facilities. But they are happy to get donations from small companies, too.
“The equipment the companies provide is generally of a higher specification – and that’s what you see on sale in Oxfam,” says Martin Reddy, the commercial manager at Rehab Recycle, a not-for-profit division of the organisation that handles recyclable electronics.
The refurbishment process provides jobs to a number of people at centres in Ireland, the UK, the Netherlands and Poland, with a special emphasis on employing people with disabilities wherever possible.
The advantage in buying Born Again equipment, compared to picking up a second-hand computer from the small ads, says Reddy, is that all PCs are professionally stripped of old data, checked for any needed minor repairs, and supplied with a fresh operating system and applications. The PCs are under warranty for periods from six months to a year, depending on the model.
Rehab already has a well-established programme called Promise it ( Promiseit.ie), through which it takes in such equipment, refurbishes it then passes it on to schools, charities and other organisations.
But the Born Again arrangement with Oxfam makes a variety of PCs, refurbished to a range of specifications, available to the general public, who can walk into Oxfam shops and purchase them directly.
“Born Again is a new business model for our retail network,” says Trevor Anderson, director of retail for Oxfam Ireland. “The PCs are high quality and affordable, and give new customers a reason to come into our shops.”
Desktops range from €120 to €180 while laptops start at €150 and run to €275, and are all sold by their specifications rather than their make or model.
Anderson says their target customers are parents who might wish to get an inexpensive PC for themselves or their children for home use, or for their own “silver surfer” parents.
“It’s a win-win situation. Customers get a high quality PC that they might not otherwise be able to afford. Oxfam is able to raise funds for its initiatives overseas and Rehab continues to do its work, recycling equipment and providing employment for the disabled,” says Anderson.
As a Microsoft authorised refurbisher, Rehab is able to provide fully licensed, new operating systems on the PC: the lower end machines run Windows XP, while the medium and higher-end machines run Windows 7. Rehab also use a well-established application called Blancco, which wipes existing data and places a digital signature on the hard drive, so that all equipment is individually identified and traceable.