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Donate It tech amnesty celebrates donation of 500 unwanted devices

A recent tech amnesty at Frome Town Hall, hosted by Somerset Community Interest Company (CIC) Donate It on Sunday 28th January resulted in 500 donations of unwanted digital devices. The devices collected will be wiped of data, restored and distributed to people who need them, with any non-usable items disposed of responsibly. 70% of global toxic waste is linked to discarded tech in landfill, and the precious metals inside devices, such as copper and cobalt, are much more intensive and difficult to mine than they are to recycle.  

Donate It founder Simon Barfoot said:

“Devices have a functional life of about 10 or 12 years, but people are upgrading or ending contracts in four or five, or even sooner. So there’s a product there out there that can still do a job for people, that can get out into the community to someone in need. The data that’s on them can be very dangerous for the original owner, so the first and most important thing we do is data destroy. We don’t look at the machines, we plug them into computers. It’s industry-standard technology –  and then you have a perfectly usable, sanitised product.

“We work with the isolated, elderly, people in rehab, domestic violence charities, displaced people: anyone struggling to have a good quality of life because they can’t get connected. We work with the NHS in Weston, Bristol, Dorchester and Taunton. One example of the difference a donated device can make is with children who have Type 1 diabetes. Parents who have children of two or three, and four or five times a day, they have to prick the finger of that child, and they don’t know why. We give them a mobile phone that talks to their implant, and suddenly the nurses at the hospital can see live data from the child while they’re sleeping and even give them a tiny top-up of insulin. So everyone can have a better quality of life, and this is a phone that’s worth 50 or 60 quid: it’s changed the lives of the parents and the child, the nurses get better quality data. It’s life-changing, and it’s a phone that would have just ended up in landfill.”

Cllr Anne Hills, who attended the amnesty said “It was another successful day for the Donate IT team – and great to have Fixy on hand too, who are a goldmine of advice when it comes to reusing and repurposing electrical items of all kinds. 500 devices saved from languishing in drawers or going into landfill are now set for a new useful life – a Sunday very well spent!”

Donations of unwanted devices can be dropped at Frome town hall during office hours at any time in the year. Future tech amnesty dates will be advertised at https://www.frometowncouncil.gov.uk/news/

13 February 2024
Last Updated
8 February 2024
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