SLUG Mailing List Archives
Re: [SLUG] workshop-full of junk available late this week
- To: slug@xxxxxxxxxxx
- Subject: Re: [SLUG] workshop-full of junk available late this week
- From: Jamie Honan <jhonan@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
- Date: Wed Aug 23 08:55:27 2000
- Cc: johnw@xxxxxxxxxx
>The situation is that the country is awash in discarded computers, I've
>heard a figure of 800k computers being replaced each year. I'm not
>surprised TAD will do nothing, they're probably short of help, which is
>the limiting factor.
>Not to appear ungrateful to people who donate but without an organised
>and streamlined way of recycling them, volunteers who collect just end
>up straining their backs, and burning up fossil fuel to move heavy boxes
>from one collection to another collection.
Just to back Ken up here. Several of us met at the Crystal Palace Hotel
to see what we could do for Computerbank.
The figure that predator quoted (600,000 rather than 800k) was probably
from a study done by Dames and Moore consulting engineers, using some ABS
statistics in their report.
This was done on behalf of a group that involved John Weaver (who, I
hope will forgive me for including him in the the CC). I'm
not sure of the exact details, but they were also concerned with the
Computerbank is different from TAD in several ways. The first is
that CB is simply concerned with computers going to 'good causes',
not just disabled folk. In addition CB, at present, won't / can't load
Windows onto any machine. TAD, (I'm told) has the right to load
Win 3.11 for free onto a donated machine.
In addition, there is another organisation called Ernie's recycling
in Glebe. Ernie has lately been knocked for six with a (terminal?)
Computerbank is reasonably successful in Victoria.
On the recipient side, things are patchy. Schools have quite specific
requirements. Another potential recipient simply wouldn't take machines
that didn't have Windows.
While I don't want to denigrate, or place a lesser value on the
efforts of volunteers, I'm not completely sure that a volunteer group
is the answer (to reducing the waste of 600,000 machines) (It may
well be a very good answer to getting computers to needy people).
Let me lay out the tasks involved, which have to be done repeatedly:
* pick up machines, generally during working hours on weekdays
involving a vehicle that has capacity
* Undertake to delete software and data from those machines. Probably
be under some bond to not allow confidential data to leak.
* Store machines in premises (free premises if volunteer / needy)
* refurbish machines.
* Dump waste that is completely useless. Possibly up to 50%. (Waste
dumping is expensive)
* Find recipients. This may mean advertising, working the phones, keeping
up the web pages.
* Deliver and set up machines for recipients. For most recipients this
may also mean some training, support.
Part of the solution is that businesses will have to take responsibility
for their computer waste (I.e. they should pay someone to take machines
away, or pay a big premium to take to the tip)
Interestingly, I'm told that Ernie doesn't give his machines away. He
expects a payment, as he found that addicts would take free machines
and sell them for drugs.
So I see two problems : getting old machines to deserving, needy
people, and reducing the (criminal!) waste of dumping old, useful
computers. I think the first is a subset solution of the second.
I invite your comments. It may seem that all this is off-topic
for a Linux discussion list, but indeed it is not.
I believe that Linux will have an enormous part to play in breathing
life into old machines. From routers, terminals (X and text) to servers
this is way to get best use.