There are about 24 million unused mobile phones going to waste in the drawers and cupboards of Australian homes.
You probably have one lying around. Or 10.
And that’s just our old phones. According to Clean Up Australia, four million computers are purchased in Australia, every year. About 88 per cent of them will end up in landfill, as Australia’s e-waste grows at three times the rate of other waste types.
At the same time, many in Australia do not have digital devices. Imagine how difficult life would be without online access.
Annette Mayne knows Australia has these problems and she wanted to do something about them so she founded The Reconnect Project several years ago.
“I have a background in waste and recycling programs; specifically, trying to reduce waste,” Annette told Hope Afternoons.
“I saw there was an opportunity to expand the lifespan of existing technology… [and] a need in our community for refurbished devices to go to people who otherwise were digitally disconnected.”
Based in Penshurst, The Reconnect Project is a “repair shop with impact”. It will take our phones, laptops and tablets, and fix them. From there, the spruced-up devices are delivered to those who need them most.
“People who are on a lower income, have Indigenous background, or limited employment and education skills tend to be 30 per cent less digitally included than the rest of the population.”
What that means, Annette said, is three in 10 Australians households don’t have online access. The Reconnect Project links with social services to plug that gap.
Since the pandemic began, The Reconnect Project has had a “phenomenal increase” in enquiries for its refurbished stuff.
Annette encourages us to post or deliver our old stuff to the workshop, to help people and the planet.