Turning E-Waste into Hope

Have you considered how much electronics contribute to global trash? While electronic waste, or e-waste, makes up 2% of landfill volume, it accounts for 70% of toxic refuse. Toxic waste lowers quality of life and lifespans for people living in proximity to the polluted air, water, and soil. This global waste crisis is getting worse by the day. Fortunately, the forward-thinking founders of Human-I-T found a way to help combat the problem. Instead of allowing computers and other electronic devices to clog up landfills and leach toxins into the ground, they refurbish them and put them in the hands of people who otherwise would not have access to this technology. 

Human-I-T is a nonprofit and social enterprise that is on a mission to shrink the “digital divide”. According to Human-I-T, “Nearly 100 million Americans lack access to a personal computer, internet connection, or both. This lack of access to digital technology creates a significant gap between the opportunities unconnected people can access and the ones digitally native households can.” As the world increasingly becomes digital, it is necessary to keep up with the changes in the way that society adapts to interacting technologically. Education, social connection, telehealth appointments, and job applications are just a few ways in which those with reliable devices and internet access can keep up and those without will fall behind.

This nonprofit believes that access to technology is a right, not a privilege. Therefore, their goal is to empower people by providing equitable access to technology and information. They accomplish this by collecting discarded technology from organizations such as PM Environmental, Ally Financial, and Rocket Companies. Human-I-T then provides low-cost devices, connection to reduced-rate internet access, self-paced digital skills training, and rapid-response tech support to underprivileged communities. Their training and tech support are also offered bilingually in English and Spanish. Recipients include low-income families, veterans in need, people with disabilities, seniors, schools, and non-profit organizations. 

PM Environmental’s IT strategy includes a fully planned and executed equipment lifecycle. In 2021, the organization refreshed some of their infrastructure, which left them with some e-waste. Consequently, they donated over 1,950 lbs. of equipment rather than allowing the technology to end up discarded in landfills. A donation of this size will help prevent 2,808 lbs. of carbon dioxide emissions. Repurposing these devices will help provide deserving recipients with a combination of 20 devices, 81 affordable internet connections, or 30 people with digital literacy training. 

“The importance of being socially responsible and a global citizen is within the Core Values of the PM Mission Statement,” said Matt Williams, PM’s Director of IT. “By investing into our business community from multiple PM locations, we help reduce our carbon footprint while also helping others less fortunate with our donation.  A special thank you to Leo Kowalyk from Human-I-T with his guidance and expertise to help coordinate the repurposing of older PM IT equipment, again, minimizing our e-waste and helping others.”

Learn more about Human-I-T and their ongoing efforts at https://www.linkedin.com/company/human-i-t/  

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