Promoting equitable access to technology and the internet
To help the environment and reduce waste, we’re all taught to “reduce, reuse, and recycle” – and in that order. At EnerSys®, we’re always mindful of our usage of resources and products, and we’re also big on recycling (our lead batteries are 99% recyclable)!
On top of that, we’re constantly looking for ways to reuse items before they get recycled or discarded, which is what led our IT team to reach out to Digitunity®, a national organization working to eliminate the technology gap, so that everyone can thrive in a digitally connected society. Digitunity works with companies like EnerSys to match their gently used technology with vetted nonprofit organizations that refurbish and distribute the donated technology to communities that need it most.
Digitunity connected EnerSys with Human-I-T, a nonprofit and social enterprise that creates equitable access to opportunity by providing devices, internet access, digital skills training, and tech support for communities, while also empowering businesses and organizations to do good by diverting technology from landfills to protect our planet.
Jeff Goss, Americas IT Service Manager at EnerSys, typically recycles used IT equipment that no longer has a use or purpose at EnerSys. But this time, with the help of Digitunity and Human-I-T, he was able to ship our old equipment for refurbishing and distribution. “It’s always great to recycle – we typically recycle everything that is broken or no longer usable,” says Jeff. “But this time, it was even better to see our old equipment getting a new life.”
The equipment went to Leo Kowalyk, Senior Business Development Executive at Human-I-T, a former teacher who saw kids and families suffer from the gap in technology. “With COVID, most and more people need access to technology and the internet to do homework, apply for jobs, and more,” says Leo. “By working to provide disadvantaged communities with technology and internet access, we’re working on building equity and connecting more people with the online world.”
After receiving the equipment, Human-I-T cleans it, ensures all the hard drives have been wiped, and makes any necessary fixes to have working equipment for donation. “When you recycle technology, it’s incredibly energy-intensive, you have to melt down the parts and sort out the metals and the plastics,” says Leo. “With a little manpower we’re able to reduce that energy usage and give people something that can help advance them in this world.”
Susan Krautbauer, Senior Director of Strategy and Development at Digitunity, says everyone needs access to technology and internet. “We are working with and through our network of nonprofits and community-based organizations to ensure computers, support, and digital skills training get into the hands of those that need them most -- veterans, marginalized populations, BIPOC, schoolchildren, and more. Digitunity has been working on digital inclusion, equity, and sustainability since 1984 – it all goes hand in hand.”
The latest EnerSys IT equipment donation of 1,763 pounds of electronic waste has an environmental impact of taking about 1 car off the road for four months. Additionally, 18 devices were refurbished and donated with one year of tech support for people in need, and 73 internet connections were provided at high speed for low or no cost.
“We try as much as possible to minimize technology waste, but next time we have items that need to be recycled, EnerSys is definitely open to future equipment donations to these organizations,” says Jeff Goss. “As a company that prioritizes sustainability, it’s just part of what we do.”
Students receiving new computers through Digitunity and Human_IT