Left to right; Fergus O'Rourke, IT Manager, Meath Co. Council, Kevin Duke, Meath Co. Council, Mariea Mullally, Camara

Left to right; Fergus O'Rourke, IT Manager, Meath Co. Council, Kevin Duke, Meath Co. Council, Mariea Mullally, Camara

Meath County Council is set to become the ninth local council that has chosen to send its computers for reuse, rather than directly to a recycling plant. Camara, an Irish educational charity, collects redundant computers from organisations, with the aim of refurbishing them and reusing them in African and Irish schools.

In donating 28 computers to Camara, Meath County Council has recognised that the need for accountable e-waste recycling is more important than ever. Offering an alternative to just recycling, Camara provides a service for organisations wishing to reuse their computer equipment in a socially responsible way, whilst contributing to a valuable community project. The charity has collected in excess of 600 computers over the last 12 months from eight councils around the country, and for each computer sent, 29 schoolchildren have benefitted.

The computers that are shipped to Africa are set up in ‘Learning Centres’ in schools and colleges. The organisation also supplies computers to Irish schools as part of a recently launched initiative to enhance ICT integration in the Irish education system.

When the computers finally do reach the end of their useful life in Africa, after five years, they are transported to recycling facilities, where they are recycled responsibly and ethically, according to the European Union’s WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronic equipment) Directive.

Two per cent of global carbon emissions can be attributed to IT, and a comprehensive UN study reveals that, reusing a computer, ‘is some 20 times more effective at saving life cycle energy use than recycling’. Realising the potential of second-hand electronic equipment as an invaluable educational tool, Camara is extending the life of its computers by 5 years, deferring carbon emissions of 650kg for each computer until it has been used to its full capacity.

Camara’s CEO, Cormac Lynch, says, “We spend a lot of time trying to educate people that there’s an alternative to just recycling. 81% of equipment received by Camara can be reused in schools before eventual recycling. ”

“Camara ensures that the maximum return on the original energy and resource investment has been eked out of each computer and in the knowledge that they will be responsibly disposed of.”