Microsoft Ireland is asking Irish companies to re-assess how they manage the disposal of end-of-life PCs and to consider the re-use of the computers they’re replacing.

Currently the vast majority of Irish business PCs end up in storage or landfill but the Microsoft Authorised Refurbisher (MAR) programme offers an alternative. The programme enables companies to donate computers they are no longer using, and those computers will then be refurbished, upgraded and serviced, installed with new copies of Microsoft Windows and Microsoft Office and then provided to local schools, charities and community groups who typically struggle to finance technology purchases. By lengthening the useful life of the computers companies can reduce their environmental impact while at the same time create a ready supply of PCs suitable for schools, charities and community groups.

There is currently a chronic shortage of suitable PCs for schools and charities in Ireland, while at the same time it is estimated that over 200,000 PCs will be disposed of by businesses in Ireland this year. While only 2,000 PCs have been refurbished this year to date, a large proportion of those machines could be productively used by schools and charities - groups that typically struggle to finance technology purchases. It is anticipated that this number could be trebled by the end of the year.

Microsoft Ireland Managing Director, Paul Rellis urged Irish companies to consider donating their PCs for reuse when they are finished with them. Commenting on the issue he said: “Companies typically replace their PCs on a three or four year cycle. While an old PC may not longer by useful for the business, it could continue to have a productive life providing access to technology for students and charities across the country. This serves two purposes, helping companies reduce their environmental impact and secondly closing the digital divide.”

“The MAR programme provides a great way for companies to ensure that a PC stays out of landfill and has a longer, more impactful life. I would urge people in business everywhere to consider these options rather than simply dumping the obsolete machines.”

 

Martin Reddy at Rehab Recycle one of the largest refurbishers in Ireland believes that there’s a great opportunity for Irish businesses in the programme. “Right now the biggest challenge is securing a supply of PCs to meet the incredible demand from schools and charities. If we can get suitable PCs we can ensure that we can get PCs into local communities which ensuring unstuitable PCs are properly recycled. Our refurbishment programme provides fantastic employment opportunities for people with disabilities, so by participating in the programme companies get a range of benefits from reducing their environmental footprint, to supporting local schools and communities and supporting employment for people with disabilities.”

The Community MAR programme is run by Microsoft but the authorised third party refurbishers are Irish companies and organizations who look after the PCs and ensure they are recycled or channeled to schools and community groups. The biggest issue today is ensuring that there is a sufficient supply of old PCs to meet the huge demand from schools and local communities. Companies can find a full list of Irish refurbishers at http://www.microsoft.com/mar.

Paul Rellis is also encouraging schools and nonprofit groups to register for the programme. “Access to technology plays a vital role in encouraging students to pursue careers in areas such as science, technology and engineering. This is a hugely cost effective way for schools to increase their computer stock. For nonprofit groups, utilising technology can help deliver greater operational efficiencies and enhanced provision of services,” he said.

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Pictured: PCs being refurbished at Rehab Recycle's Dublin facility 

The initiative is just one part of Microsoft’s commitment to environmental sustainability and to bringing the benefits of technology to everyone in society. Microsoft is committed to reduce the environmental impact of PCs and to close the digital divide by bringing the benefits of technology to as many people as possible.

Companies, schools and non profits interested in finding out more about the MAR programme or how to register can visit http://www.microsoft.com/mar.