Electronic Reuse

Everything started with a “what if we opt for reuse rather than premature recycling”. In 2014 the Government of Catalonia planned to discard 30,000 computer devices per year until 2019. 92% of the devices were functional and 87% of them were potentially reusable locally by social entities, schools and people digitally excluded. The government wanted to involve all the active reuse centers to do all the work of refurbishing, channeling and tracking these devices. This was the request they made to a research group at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya. A few months later eReuse.org was launched.

Figures and Impact

The Electronic Reuse federation

The Electronic Reuse Federation was launched in 2015; we are a project under Pangea.org, a private, independent non-profit organization founded in 1993 to promote the strategic use of ICT. Our members are local groups, businesses and organizations with the goal of extending the lifetime of products through repair, refurbishment, and reuse. Our partners are international groups that promote social awareness about the social and environmental impact of electronics, social jjobs, zero waste, circular economy, fair electronics, the right to repair, the reduction of the digital divide, and social inclusion. We have been supported by EU Projects Chest #611333, TagltSmart.eu #688061, the City Council of Barcelona, the Association of Progressive Communications (APC.org), and several other funds and projects.

Our Mission

The Electronic Reuse mission is to empower and engage people around the world to create local communities which bootstrap reuse and guarantee final recycling. Most devices from business and public administration are discarded when considered amortized, and although they still have value for use and are suitable for reuse, they are scrapped (recycled) or illegally exported to other countries via informal reuse circuits. Public authorities and businesses are willing to promote the positive aspects of reuse, but without a traceability solution and a commitment from consumers to reused products, it is uncertain if reused digital devices may end up being exported illegally and potentially polluting the environment. Such risk and slippage are the main drawbacks in the promotion and the practice of reuse in public and private organisations.

Our Activity

Common and open resources for reusing electronics.

Our members and partners develop and share open-source resources such as refurbishment tools, asset management and traceability systems, self-certification mechanisms for quality and circularity standards, good practices and case studies. The challenge in this activity is to prioritize which resources are key to the community and ensure they are open-source and based on open standards. eReuse coordinates the development of these resources.

Assess training and circular economy platform replication

Our partners are advising governments on the creation of formal reuse circuits that offer traceability until recycling and transfer know-how and its open-source platform to reuse centres. Advising and training actions should create local reuse platforms that enable device traceability, and guarantee reused devices are finally recycled. The growth is based on the replication of the model in different cities and areas. Therefore, growth depends on the initial training of the seed organization for a circuit in a given location and on the use of the tools remotely, downloadable support materials, remote assistance to platforms, periodic visits combined with local community events for follow-up (face-to-face support and training), collection of activity metrics, etc. That allows a rather small core coordination team to grow steadily, given that local circuits are quite autonomous. eReuse selects partners and evaluates their training and the transfer of technology.

Certification of circular economy platforms and entities

The members must be supported by our partners to put in value what they do and be able to measure the social, environmental and economic impact of their work. The circularity of electronics is to apply the Rs in order and ensure final recycling (last R), so members must make sure that there is no premature recycling. Our members should certify there is no premature recycling and measure the impacts generated by reuse. The challenge is to provide resources for members to be able to self-evaluate, self-certificate and share this data with us. eReuse generates the circularity certificates of platforms and entities.

Global recording of chain of custody data until final recycling

eReuse resources are already being used in 10 cities with a total volume of 10,000 devices in use. The key is to ensure 100% that any device that has been reused is ultimately recycled, so reuse always leads to proper recycling. eReuse platforms are distributed and managed locally by their members, so the challenge in this activity is to create traceability data to ensure any refurbished asset is finally recycled (even at the component level).  Partners help members share traceability data (non-personal) and eReuse.org records and cross data across platforms to create a global chain of custody.