eReuse.org was financed by the CHEST project. they have built a nice community around the circular economy of digital devices (laptops, desktops). Social business repairing and distribution them to social initiatives.
Moving towards a circular economy must go beyond just recycling materials at a product’s end-of-life. A circular economy is one that aims to keep products product in use, unlike recycling which indicates the death of the product. If products are reused, they last longer, reducing expenditure in new consumer goods, creating jobs, and strengthening digital skills. Furthermore, considering participation in digital society a human right, can also help to reduce the digital divide and strengthen institutions and projects for social change.
Reuse is when a product or source part is used for the purpose for which it was originally made or conceived. The three contributions of reuse are: repair, refurbishment and remanufacturing. The repair allows to reuse the working source parts of a computer, carried out by the users, the refurbishment is to prepare a device for another user to reuse (data wipe, upgrade), carried out by companies, and the remanufacture is to create new devices from source parts and improve the aesthetics.
eReuse.org community collectively create, share and manage a set of resources to extend the electronic products lifetime and ensure recycling, eReuse.org members cooperate under a common governance constituting a higher value ecosystem around circular electronics, result in a resource system that is a collective good, socially produced, and governed as a common-pool resource. The fundamental principles of eReuse.org are fully inclusive, revolve around 1) the openness of access (usage and contribution) and 2) the openness of participation (development, operation, and governance) of the resource system.
The development of the common pool resources (CPR) economy is a social production, also called peer production, because the participants work cooperatively at the local scale to deploy the tools and services to build local organised islands and at the global scale to share knowledge, data, tools, services, and to coordinate actions to ensure the interoperability of the resource system deployed at the local scale. The participants (individuals or organisations with their own rules) must accept the rules to join the resource system and must contribute the required resources to do it, but they keep the ownership of the data, services, certifications, and tools they have contributed and the right to withdraw.
They have two interesting success stories:
1) the council of Barcelona allows collaborative consumption of their unused IT that is refurbished by social providers and channelized to not for profit initiatives such as schools. The traceability is the key to ensure to public administrations the guarantee of reuse, not-for-profit providers involved in refurbishing and distribution, the social impact and final recycling.
2) Abacus is a cooperative with 1 million of members. They pick up ICT equipment from particulars, social providers will repair and refurbish it, and Abacus will distribute them to schools. In two months will be collected more than 5000 computers of which we hope that at least 3000 are reusable. Each computer will generate 40€ of local economy. This is more than 200,000 € that otherwise would have been lost (recycled).
The next challenge is to ensure that the traceability system increase the recycling rates, that means reuse in a commons contributes to recycling more that recycling to recycling, is a nice paradox that we can explain.