|A computer dump in Asia|
Founded in 1991 by Wyatt, Wil Marshman, and Mark Hass, CRC is the oldest continuously operating full service collection, reuse, and refurbishment program for electronics in the U.S. The company was born when Mark met the others for dinner with a frustrating story. The company he worked for in Silicon Valley was downsizing and they needed to rid themselves of all the 1 to 2 year old computers filling two 20,000 sq foot warehouses. For two weeks calls went out to schools and non-profits telling them these computers were available, but when the company received no immediate response a dump truck was called and thousands of usable computers were carried away to a landfill. By the end of their meal Wil, Mark, and Steven had decided to start an organization to keep computers out of the trash and reroute them into schools and nonprofits.
Today Computer Recycling Center offers free business pick up for unwanted computers or any electronic device that has a plug (except large home appliances). This collection service is also offered free of charge to individuals who drop off or mail in electronics. Last year they collected 100,023 computers, laptops, and other types of computer terminal devices. Wyatt estimates that 62% of the goods they receive are repairable. They “reuse the best and recycle the rest,” and in doing so have kept over 1 million computers from ending up as trash.
The computers that can be repaired are sent to CRC’s state certified vocational training course in computer repair – “Computers and Education.” This training program has partnered with organizations like the EDD and AARP to train people who have been displaced from their jobs; these individuals learn new valuable skills working on what many call e-waste. Tens of thousands of repaired computers have been donated through the “C & E” program to foster youth, homebound elderly, teachers, schools, war veteran programs and others who might not have regular access to technology.
If you live in Sunnyvale or Santa Rosa, CA you might want to stop by their Saturday Fundraisers, which raise money to help support the continuation of CRC’s programs. At this unique market, held every Saturday, you can pick up low cost computers, monitors, and various other accessories. Why pay full price when you can get a high-end computer for a fraction of the cost and limit your carbon footprint? Programs like the Computer Recycling Center are rare, but hopefully as awareness and support of these organizations grows similar groups (like www.cacrc.com and www.perscholas.org) will spring up worldwide.