After nearly three and half years exploring the ways and whys of e-waste, Sydney’s social service system and social innovation, today marks a milestone in eReuse Inc.’s aim to design and implement a more sustainable solution to e-waste management and access to technology in the Sydney area. An agreement to recycle and re-use UNSW IT equipment was signed between UNSW and ARC, UNSW’s student union, with all major stakeholders converging in the Chancellery building to lend support to the pilot program. This kicks off a two-month trial period for an e-waste management scheme, developed by eReuse Inc., to be trialed as a UNSW program and implemented at a UNSW-wide level.
The waste management scheme developed by eReuse Inc. brings together a diverse range of groups in our local community to generate value and meet needs. A weekly computer refurbishment workshop is held every Wednesday night at the Michael Crouch Innovation Centre, UNSW, allowing students to gain hands on experience with computer hardware. Orders for computers are placed by caseworkers and social workers from Sydney’s social service organisations. These organisations provide support and services to individuals experiencing social and economic disadvantage for reasons such as disability, homelessness, refugee and migrant status, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence and family issues. Computers that are not able to be refurbished are placed in a serviced e-waste recycling bin located in the Michael Crouch Innovation Centre. Participating organisations also ensure that the computers provided to them are recycled at the end of their life. With today’s signing ceremony, ARC @ UNSW demonstrated the value this project brings to student life and development and commits funding to the program.
eReuse Inc. is an example of environmental engineering that involves social and technological solutions to deliver on all three pillars of sustainability: economic, social and environmental.
This is now an Honours Thesis project at the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, supervised by Mr. Stephen Moore and Prof. Richard Stuetz. Valuable funding and support was provided throughout 2016 through the School’s Teaching and Learning Committee and Head of School Prof. Stephen Foster. The project could well form a model for ongoing student lead courses and projects that are being investigated in the School.
Article written by: Charlotte Wang