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EPA's New England Office Donates Computers to Mass. High Schools

Release Date: 11/29/2005
Contact Information:

Contact: David Deegan (deegan.dave@epa.gov), EPA Office of Public Affairs, (617) 918-1017

For Immediate Release: November 29, 2005; Release # dd051112

(Boston) - Lawrence High School and the Lynn Classical High School this year received free computer equipment through a seven-year-old program of the New England office of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The computer equipment, purchased new, would have cost the schools an estimated $80,000.

As part of a larger effort to promote sound management of in-house computer equipment while helping communities throughout the region, EPA New England has donated nearly 600 personal computers and related technology to schools and other non-profit organizations over the seven years. This year, Lynn Classical High School received 10 personal computers and a printer and Lawrence High School received 37 personal computers and 20 monitors.

In the last two years, EPA donated 151 cell phones to woman’s shelters through the same program.

The computers are donated through a federal government program called Computers for Learning. In 1996, the federal government passed a law mandating federal agencies to give preference to schools and nonprofit organizations for donations of educationally useful federal equipment. This program is part of Federal Electronics Challenge, encouraging better management of federal computer equipment.

“The PC donation process works out well for everyone involved,” said Robert W. Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “Schools get much-needed equipment to help them with online learning and computer education, and our environment benefits because computers are used for a longer period of time, and not scraped or disposed in landfills.”

In addition, Varney noted, EPA saves on the cost of having an outside vendor recycle or dispose of the equipment while schools save money on computer purchases that can be re-directed to meet other needs. EPA officials estimate it would have cost the agency about $4,000 to send the 600 computers to a recycling plant.

Before the computers are donated, all EPA data must be removed. Agency staff also test and reconfigure the equipment to ensure that the donated equipment is fully operational. In the past, EPA New England has donated computers to Framingham, Brockton, Somerville, Malden, Winthrop, and Dorchester, as well as schools in Rhode Island, New Hampshire, and Maine.

Schools and educational nonprofit organizations can request excess computer equipment through the web site of the Computers for Learning Program at: http://www.computers.fed.gov/public/aboutProg.asp .

Throughout New England, towns and cities help with the reuse and recycling of old computers by collecting electronic waste. Massachusetts enacted legislation to help prevent some hazardous materials from entering landfills. In April 2000, this state adopted a first-in-the-nation approach to reuse and recycle discarded computer monitors and televisions, banning all cathode ray tube (CRT) disposal in Massachusetts landfills and waste combustors due to their high lead content (4-8 pounds of CRT). In 2004, Maine passed a law providing a system of shared responsibility for the collection and recycling of electronic waste.
For more information on state by state efforts, go to:
http://www.epa.gov/NE/solidwaste/electronic/state-contacts.html .

EPA manages its own equipment disposal in partnership with the Federal Electronics Challenge, a voluntary partnership program that encourages federal facilities and agencies to purchase greener electronic products, reduce the impacts of electronic products during use and manage obsolete electronics in an environmentally safe way.

Related Information:
Solid Waste Reduction and Recycling
Electronics Recycling