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Social and Economic Benefits of Reuse

Social and Economic Benefits of Reuse,there are significant opportunities for local businesses seeking to recover the value in used and end-of-use PCs and related equipment. When old ICT equipment becomes obsolete, or is simply broken, ineffective or no longer wanted, it could still have economic value and should be managed appropriately at end-of-use. After a used PC is collected from its formerowner, reuse is the preferred first treatment option, as it can allow for more users of the device at a lower cost, extend the return on the energy and resources involved in the manufactured product, and prevent the device from entering the waste stream. Reuse may require repair, refurbishment or upgrade if necessary.

Direct reuse and refurbishment have numerous social benefits as they allow the poorest people to have access to ICT at a lower cost. The United Nations Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Number 8 identifies the need for cooperation with the private sector to «make available the benefits of new technologies, especially information and communication».ICT can serve as a powerful tool for poverty reduction and the overall achievement of the MDGs, accelerating development progress through (i) increased market access, efficiency and competitiveness, (ii) improved social inclusion of isolated populations, and (iii) political empowerment. In the field of education, ICT can provide distance learning, teacher training,greater availability of educational curriculum and improved administration. Greater access to ICT can provide remote health care services, improved patient information systems, and access to research and training.

ICT can combat gender inequality and improve environmental sustainability,when harnessed and used effectively. However, when exporting used ICT equipment to developing countries or countries with economies in transition, consideration should be given to the need to ensure that environmentally sound solutions for the final disposal of end-of-life equipment are in place in the destination countries. For example, used ICT should be tested and certified to be really functional before they are exported and a control and testing system must also be available in the importing countries to prevent the transfer of ICT equipment that is not functional and therefore is a waste product.