Code of practice | Acceptable use policy |
Activities & benefits | Case studies | Donors | FAQ | Products | Refurbishers | Trustees | Home

Refurbishing office computers for schools and the community

rutherford.jpg (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.

Frequently asked questions about Computer Access and refurbished computers

What equipment do you accept?

  • We accept surplus computers and computer peripherals from anyone. However there may be small acceptance charges for one-off deliveries of older equipment. Unfortunately there is little or no demand for such equipment and it’s a net cost to CANZ refurbishers to have it recycled in environmentally acceptable way. Charges to receive and dispose of older equipment are: monitors $25, desktop ‘boxes’ $5 and printers $10.
  • We develop longer-term relationships with organisations which donate a variety of newer equipment through us. While much of this equipment can be refurbished and resold, we accept that some may still need environmentally acceptable recycling, at our cost. It’s the swings and roundabouts principle.
  • CANZ refurbishers may offer free pickup in their metropolitan areas for larger quantities of equipment. Small lots should be dropped off at the refurbisher’s premises or a pickup fee may apply if you are unable to drop the computers off.

My gear is old and I don’t want to pay for its recycling. Is there an environmentally acceptable alternative?

  • Keep an eye out for the next ‘eDay’ free computer recycling event in your area.

Who can donate?

Most donations come from government or corporate sources, but refurbishing companies will accept computers from anyone.

Who do I contact to donate computer equipment?

  • You can either contact the CANZ office by phone at 04-472 5518 or email to;; or get in touch with your nearest refurbisher.

Do I have to deliver to the refurbishing company?

Refurbishers will arrange collection from businesses and in some cases from individuals. However, if there are only one or two computers involved, we encourage donors to drop them off at one of the recycling depots. Too many uneconomic pickups could help put refurbishers out of business!

What is the refurbishing process?

First refurbishers remove all software and data from hard drives, using US Defence Department-approved data destruction processes, and then assess whether the machines can be refurbished to marketable standards. If the machines are re-marketable, they clean and test them, and replace components as necessary. They can install a fully licensed operating system and any other licensed software which may be requested by a purchaser. Machines which are below standard are upgraded or cannibalised for spare parts. There is usually a surplus of some parts such as CD ROMs, hard drives and these are sometimes sold through other channels to help defray operating costs or used to refurbish other computers. Remaining parts are disposed of in the least environmentally damaging way available.

Can you guarantee data security and transfer of liability?

  • Yes. Data security is of the utmost importance. Our accredited refurbishers take this part of the process very seriously. From the moment refurbishers collect equipment, they take full liability for destroying data, licensing software, and appropriate destinations for the hardware.
  • One of the first things refurbishers do with donated computers is to erase all software and data from their drives. No attempt is made to examine the data. If a drive is not to be re-used, it will be physically destroyed.
  • Refurbishers remove all markings identifying the donor before refurbished machines are sold.
  • Refurbishers have established legal arrangements that transfer all responsibility for machines to CANZ refurbishers. When refurbishers pick up used equipment, they give you a transfer note which describes the equipment. If you wish to prepare your own inventory list with serial numbers of machines, refurbishers will sign against it.

What’s in it for donors?

  • You get a disposal avenue for obsolete equipment, with a tax write-off opportunity.
  • You get rid of old equipment which is taking up space.
  • You help schools make best use of existing technology and help train a new generation of computer users.
  • (If desired) you get publicity for your donation through this website and media publicity we generate.
  • You get certification from CANZ which can be used to show your own public commitment to recycling.
  • You deal with only a single organisation – an accredited CANZ refurbisher – instead of potentially many schools and community organisations which may want your old equipment. Less hassles all round.

Why not give direct to schools?

Businesses sometimes give computer cast-offs to their local school, but that can be a mixed blessing for both parties. Often the machines are in poor condition, and if they play up, the school may expect the donor to sort them out. Problems with donations have led some teachers to unfairly question the whole concept of refurbished computers. However, older 486 and Pentium machines still have long and useful lives ahead of them if they are professionally refurbished.

Refurbishers mix and match components from a variety of donors, but sometimes we do arrange for organisations to sponsor refurbished PCs for specific schools.

Aren’t you just dumping outmoded technology on schools?

Not at all. We recognise that refurbished computers can’t do everything, but many areas of student computing don’t need high performance machines.

Most CANZ branded computers at least Pentium 4 or, more usually, faster machines that have been recently retired from businesses.

Such machines let schools browse the Internet, download learning resources, use e-mail, and run word processing, spreadsheet and most graphics software. They work particularly well in networks for ‘bulk’ school applications like word processing classes. 

Buying cheaper CANZ-branded machines gives school boards of trustees more purchasing power, which means that schools – particularly those in low income communities – have more chance of achieving desirable computer/student ratios.

Saving money on hardware also frees funds to be spent on software, professional development for teachers in computer use, and alternative education activities. Money saved can also be put toward new computers for high-end multi-media use.

The national computer refurbishing and recycling project has the support and encouragement of the Ministry of Education through its ICT strategy.

Can you refer me to schools using CANZ refurbished PCs?

Click here to go directly to case studies of schools using refurbished computers, at the Learning Power website. These case studies include contact details for the schools concerned.

What’s wrong with sending old PCs to the tip?

Dumping PCs permanently removes an avenue of affordable computing for people in the community who can least afford to buy new machines. Also, tossing old computers in the landfill is not good environmental practice. You lose an ability to recycle components and raw materials such as plastic and metals, including gold.

Some parts are toxic to the environment. Examples are the monitor screen glass which contains lead, and batteries on mother boards. Monitors can contain several kilograms of lead. A table showing the environmental impacts of materials used in computer production is here.

CANZ refurbishers issue certificates of recycling, which may be used by donors to support their environmental policy. Certificates state how many units were collected and how many are suitable for re-use.

Who qualifies for Computer Access machines?

  • Schools have first call on all machines
  • Not-for-profit organisations and approved school-based projects such as 'Computers in Homes' have second call.
  • Non-standard machines may also be sold to schools to meet clearly defined and understood needs.
  • Other machines may be donated to schools for fundraising purposes or to those with special education needs which can be met by specific machines.

Return to top of page

Return to CANZ home page