"In 1991 no one had heard the term 'Computer Recycling'"
In 1991 (and before CRC) a Silicon Valley high-tech company was down-sizing and giving up two 20,000 sq. ft. warehouses. These warehouses were packed with computer equipment one and two models old. There was active outreach on the phone for 8 hours a day to schools and nonprofits for the next 2 weeks, informing that these computers were available. Ten years ago no one ever heard the term "Computer Recycling" and there was no immediate response. The warehouses were emptied and a scrap company hauled the stuff away. Our Founders - Wil Marshman , Mark Hass, and Steven Wyatt - were having dinner together, and Mark (who worked for the down-sizing company) suggested starting a program to reuse old computers. Before the end of the evening, the three men committed to starting a nonprofit organization to keep computers out of our landfills, and started the conversation about rerouting computers to schools/ nonprofits. Our first motto was "Reusing Computers to Educate America.
The Computer Recycling Center in California was the first full-service collection, reuse, and refurbishment organization in the USA. In 1992 we received a grant from the David and Lucille Packard Foundation allowing full-time operation, and moved into larger quarters. We are fortunate to receive newspaper, magazine, and TV coverage on a continuing basis. From the beginning CRC was set up as a model, to provide the incubation of ideas and to collect, move, test, refurbish, and re-distribute an avalanche of cast-off computers (different makes, models, in all kinds of conditions, or even in no condition at all!). Here is where we had fun. When you're starting from scratch, something new and exciting for the first time, you have to make it all up! There were no wrong answers, only better ones.
In 1994 we added a training program, became state-licensed, and our courses were state-certified. We worked through the private industry council and the Employment Development Department to provide career training and technical job skills. In 1996 we participated with the State of California "Refurbished computers program". But we still had some problems. One: getting people to accept a "recycled computer"; Two: making sure that businesses would know that our highest priority with used equipment was finding REUSE, and not just "grinding up" or "melting down" the computers. So we started the Computers & Education REuse and donation program. Each of our program names say exactly what we do. Computer Recycling Center™ keeps the items out of the landfill, and Computers & Education refurbishes the computers, and provides community and after school training programs.
In 1998 CRC started supplying the California Department of Corrections with computers to refurbish, and partnered with Joint Venture Silicon Valley's "Smartschools" program. Our new motto is "Reuse the best and recycle the rest™".
At our facilities and programs we give tours, participate in conferences, and we have provided information, thoughts, and ideas to private and government organizations from states in the USA, and countries including Canada, UK, and Japan. Each started successful model programs. We continue to be a full-service organization, keeping in-touch with each area of Computer Recycling and Computer Reuse, and continuing to be an active partner in local community programs.
Further information will appear here as we update the program. We welcome alliances with computer industry leaders in promoting local member organization "centers".