Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Businesses Donate Computers For Great Ideas

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nevada — According to the Nevada Appeal, more than 177 people brought carloads of computer equipment to the event at Incline Village General Improvement District's public works parking lot. It was part of the first computer recycling day held by Waste Not.

"There's a lot of people bringing stuff because they didn't know how to get rid of it," said Madonna Dunbar, IVIGD's resource conservationist "We knew we were going to get a lot of materials. We have a lot of things we can reuse and recycle."

The nonprofit company expects to collect between 500 and 1,000 computers from the Earth Day recycling effort in Incline Village and Reno, according to Pete Peterson, the company's logistics director. In fact, two truckloads of computers collected Saturday were taken to ComputerCorps' 40,000 square foot warehouse in Carson City.

About 40 percent to 45 percent of the computers can be refurbished and loaded with fresh software. The rest of the computers are broken down into components which are then sold to computer parts brokers. Finally, Western Metal takes the sheet metal off the old computers.

"Nothing goes to a landfill," Peterson said.

The refurbished computers, along with a monitor and keyboard, are given to schoolchildren who can't afford a computer. In return, each family member who plans to use the computer gives 10 hours of community service. Peterson said 15 percent to 20 percent of Nevada's schoolchildren do not have access to a computer, even though many homework assignments require one.

The nine-year-old nonprofit company receives most of its computers from hospitals and federal, state, city and county government. These are usually only two years old and in good shape to donate to students. The computers are refurbished by volunteers.

ComputerCorps would like to increase the number of students it reaches in Nevada, especially by adding an office in Las Vegas. It has requested $1.2 million from the Nevada Legislature through Assembly Bill 566 to expand its service during the next three years. The funding would pay for more staff to refurbish computers and the Las Vegas office.

Looking over the computer-filled parking lot in Incline Village, Peterson said, "The funding would help us to get more of this stuff recycling and refurbished and ready to go."

If any residents missed the computer recycling day, Waste Not will continue to collect computer parts on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3 to 5 p.m., Dunbar said.

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