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Refurbishing office computers for schools and the community

Text processing class at Rutherford College(13122 bytes)

The Computer Access New Zealand Trust was replaced by
The eDay New Zealand Trust in 2010.
This website has been retained for historical purposes but viewers
should refer to the eDay website for all activities after 1 July 2010.

Computers are now a vital part of our children's learning and a basic tool for most community organisations. Today it goes without saying that information and communications technology (ICT) is New Zealanders' ticket to the 21st Century.

It’s one thing to understand all this, but quite another to give all groups in our society access to the ICT revolution. Though prices for new computers have dropped significantly, buying multiple sets in particular can be beyond the resources of cash-strapped schools and not-for-profit community organisations.

To help solve the problem, the Computer Access New Zealand Trust (CANZ) was set up in 1999. It was an initiative of the 2020 Communications Trust, supported by the Ministry of Education.

CANZ accredits computer refurbishing companies, which use the CANZ quality brand. This means they  share a code of practice and an acceptable use policy for branded machines.

Accredited refurbishers sell used equipment donated by commercial and government organisations, usually about three years from brand new. This equipment, all quality ‘name’ brands, is refurbished, upgraded as necessary and sold with a warranty and after-sales service. Prices are significantly lower than for new computers. Schools which have bought CANZ machines in the past have consistently found them reliable and good for several years more service. When CANZ computers finally reach the end of their useful life, refurbishers take them back for environmental recycling.

For many schools, a mix of new and refurbished computers can be a sensible approach. CANZ computers are less expensive than new models, yet they are network and Internet capable and handle almost all software used in schools today. (Some high-level graphics and video applications work better on new equipment.)

As well as being available for schools, CANZ recycled machines are being used in the Computers in Homes project, which is reducing the 'digital divide' problem in low income New Zealand communities by supplying families with computers, internet connections and training.

• Case studies of schools using CANZ computers – click below

• Frequently asked questions about CANZ and recycled computers

• E-waste

Not all older computers can be refurbished for continued use, and New Zealand has poor facilities for environmentally acceptable end-of-life disposal. Since 2005, CANZ has worked closely with the Ministry for the Environment and other stakeholders to help develop solutions to this problem. In 2005 and 2006 we published reports and recommendations, and in 2006 we partnered with Dell Computer to run New Zealand's first free pickup day for old computer gear. (Information and photos from this event are here. We were also the main driver behind the national eDays in 2007 and  2008.

CANZ comment on the 60 Minutes TV item 'Electronic Wasteland', broadcast by TV3 on 2 February 2009.

A table showing the environmental impacts of materials used in computer production is here.)

Contact CANZ:
Phone: 04-472 5518

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Last modified: 9/2/09

Help close the digital divide by donating to the CANZ accredited recycling programme.

Click here to read about the donor programme.


Click on the logo above to go to the website for last year's national eDay, when people were able to safely dispose of  unused home computer equipment. Click here to read a report on this event.

• CANZ has been helping develop national e-waste policy since 2006, when  we published a major government-funded action report. Click here to download a PDF version.