Over the 2013 winter holidays, Alberta’s Electronic Recycling Association (ERA) donated 50 desktop computers and 25 laptops to youth in need.
According to ERA founder, Bojan Paduh, the donations give hope to youth, similar to the time that a church donated a computer to him in 1996, when he experienced poverty after arriving in Canada from war-torn Yugoslavia.
Currently, British Columbia suffers the worst child poverty rates in Canada, affecting one out of five children and youth. ERA hopes to reverse this trend by providing used laptops, computers and video games to charities and non-profit organizations helping kids and youth. Alberta is slightly better.
Individuals and organizations can contact the ERA to request some of these laptops and computers, for use in their programs. The laptops and computers can help with studies, education, staying in touch, and playing.
“Whenever possible, donated electronic equipment is refurbished, wiped clean of any data, and given to charities and other non-profit organizations at no cost,” says Ben Brunner, ERA donations supervisor. “Materials not suitable for donation are recycled in a responsible and environmentally friendly way to minimize or eliminate associated environmental impacts of E-Waste.”
Calgary-headquartered ERA operates donation centres in Calgary and in Edmonton, as well as Vancouver and Victoria, BC. In 2013 alone, ERA donated hundreds of laptops and computer sets across western Canada. In 2012, the organization diverted 319 tonnes of recyclable materials from the landfill.
A report by Alberta Recycling Management Authority in Alberta (ARMA) for 2013 revealed that in there were 750,000 TVs and computers dumped by the public in Alberta, none of which were reused. In BC, ERA reports that 21,960 tonnes (approx. 1 million electronic devices) were dumped or abandoned. ERA says it's confident that many of those items could have been reused and given second homes.