Region gives old tech new life


A new approach to dealing with old IT equipment from businesses has launched in the Geelong region, creating local jobs, reducing e-waste to landfill and helping a leading food charity.

And it’s just in time to help businesses manage the impacts of the state government’s ban on e-waste going into landfill, which kicks-in next week on 1 July.

The project is being driven by social enterprise PonyUp for Good, which aims to divert 25,000kg of decommissioned technology from businesses by 2020.

That would help fund the delivery of 50,000 meals by fresh food rescue charity SecondBite which receives 50 per cent of the social enterprise’s profits.

Donated e-waste goes to a secure, purpose-built facility at Avalon operated by Aeon Technology Services which is committed to creating local jobs, especially for people with employment challenges.

The PonyUp for Good project ensures that decommissioned computer hard-drives and devices have had data securely erased.  It also measures the social and environmental benefits of recycling and re-using old computers and other office technology.

PonyUp for Good founders Mardi Brown and Cat Harding say the program delivers business, environmental, social and employment benefits.

Geelong and the wider G21 region is ideally suited to the recycling project due to a progressive community attitude to sustainability.

The program is being supported by key organisations including G21, Give Where You Live Foundation, GROW (G21 Region Opportunities for Work), Geelong Chamber of Commerce and the Barwon South West Waste and Resource Recovery Group.

Deakin University, GMHBA and Gforce Employment Solutions are among the organisations to get on board early to the project.  PonyUp for Good is also well advanced in talks with government departments in the region.

If the region’s main state government departments were to dispose of e-waste at Aeon Technology Services at Avalon via the PonyUp for Good project around 100,000 hours of work for locals could be achieved.

Every computer recycled through the Avalon site creates around one hour of work.

The program includes a pick-up service which is available to small-to-medium and large sized businesses.

About 75 per cent of Geelong region e-waste is currently going to Dandenong for data erasure, before being trucked to Sydney for processing.

SecondBite, which receives half of the project’s profits, last year rescued 11 million kilograms of fresh food and redistributed it to over 1300 food programs nationally. That's over 65,000 healthy meals a day.

Watch an ABC TV "War on Waste" segment about the project here.

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