Microsoft tackles digital divide with e-waste strategy

16 Aug 2007

The twin issues of the embarrassing dearth of up-to-date computers in Irish schools and the need to dispose of old PCs in an environmentally-efficient manner are being tackled by Microsoft’s Irish operations as part of a new recycling scheme for businesses.

Companies seeking to get rid of computers they no longer use can see them repurposed and ready for use by entities on the other side of the digital divide, namely Irish schools and charities.

The Microsoft Authorised Refurbisher (MAR) programme is designed to increase the number of low-cost computers available to charities and schools, whilst also keeping serviceable computers out of landfills.

Launched today at the Rehab Recycle facility in Tallaght, the scheme provides businesses with a means of disposing of unused or end-of-life computer equipment which can then be serviced, re-conditioned and installed with new software.

The computers can then be donated to a charity or school that might not otherwise be able to afford the technology needed to access 21st century information technology.

A recent study by the Teachers Union of Ireland recently revealed that 50pc of computers in Irish schools are unusable.

There are currently four companies in Ireland actively refurbishing computers as part of the MAR programme and over 1,00 computers have been re-routed to charities and schools so far.

“The MAR programme, promotes the reuse of technology and provides a ready supply of computers for charities and schools,” explained Tom Murphy, head of public relations and community affairs at Microsoft.

“Already a number of leading environmentally conscious companies are availing of the MAR programme and our aim is that as many companies as possible look at the programme as a realistic alternative to scrapping unused technology while knowing that the donated computers will have a valuable extended life in a growing number of charities and schools,” Murphy said.

By John Kennedy