New impact report for Stockport’s IT recycling scheme with a social conscience

The Community Computers recycling scheme became a DigiKnow partner one year ago.

In the lead-up to the launch of our Radical Digital Strategy, we are highlighting some of the achievements of the DigiKnow alliance, the local network working to ensure everyone in Stockport can benefit from digital.

Community Computers, a recycling scheme run by Stockport charity Renewal North West, became a DigiKnow partner one year ago. They repair and recycle donated IT equipment, making low-cost refurbished devices available to low-income households. They also use parts from recycled donations to maintain the DigiKnow Device Library, which loans devices for free to Stockport residents who cannot get online. They have just published a report covering the donations received and recycled over the period and the positive impact this has had on many people’s lives.

The report shows that 2,025 devices have been donated to the scheme over the last 12 months, weighing 7,895kg in total. That’s almost 8 tons of toxic electronic waste that hasn’t gone into landfill! This unwanted tech has been put to great use, with its greatest impact shown in the feedback from some of the people who have benefited from the refurbished devices:

“It will help me with job applications as I'm currently on JSA. Applying for jobs just using my phone is difficult, especially when creating my CV”
“This will help me look for work and improve my life”
“I'm going into training; this will help so much for me to become a nurse in the future”
“Helps with school homework as at the moment we are sharing a laptop”
“This will help massive with improving mine and my children’s future, enabling me to study online whilst looking after my children. I can also job search as well as help my daughter access online homework.”
“My son never have laptop. He always wanted one. He’s going to be very happy.”

Councillor David Sedgwick, Cabinet Member for Citizen Focus and Engagement, says: "We put people at the heart of everything we do, and we want everyone to benefit from digital and make the most of all the information and services available online. These stories show why having access to the internet is so important. This is a fantastic scheme that breathes new life into old devices and makes a massive difference to people struggling to get online. I can't thank you enough for all the donations we've already received. Please do continue to drop off computers you don't use at your local library."

Wesley Downs, Executive Officer of Renewal North West, said: "Community Computers is a recycling scheme with a social conscience, and we're passionate about tackling digital exclusion and long-term unemployment, as well as reducing e-waste. Your IT donations will help us support long-term unemployed individuals with work skills and training and provide fully licensed, affordable devices back into the community at a low cost. By donating your old devices, you'll also play your part in helping the environment. No other scheme puts your unwanted tech to so many good uses."

Community Computers provide training and work experience in IT recycling skills for the long-term unemployed. They are specialists in recycling tech, electronic waste processing, and ensuring the proper disposal of hazardous materials.

If you have a computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone you don't use, all Stockport libraries accept devices for the scheme. Data security is a high priority, and we can reassure you that devices will be securely cleaned of all your data before refurbishing. Please see the Community Computers website for further information, including the type of devices that you can donate. To buy a low-cost refurbished device, call 0161 476 2777 or visit Renewal North West's shop at 61-63 Shaw Heath, Stockport SK3 8BH.

There are also DigiKnow workshops running at the shop on the next two Saturdays for people interested in learning more about IT recycling or needing support to buy a low-cost device and get online:
Saturday 19 March 2022 10:00 - 14:00 – How/why I should reuse my tech
Saturday 26 March 2022 10:00 - 14:00 – Getting online: Starting your journey
Full details of all DigiKnow events on our Events calendar.

The DigiKnow community network has been set up to help you learn how to do things online, even if you do not have access to the internet at home. To borrow a device from the DigiKnow library, or for any help getting online, call the DigiKnow Helpline on 07537 127 095 or visit our DigiKnow web pages.

Digital Inclusion support is one of our priority actions aligned with the One Stockport Borough Plan. Stockport Council has been working together with partners, businesses and residents to develop the Radically Digital Stockport strategy. We invite you to look and give us your comments and feedback.