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Feds to develop repairable laptop donation program

A legislation will enable licensed, nonprofit refurbishing corporations to straight get hold of, refurbish and distribute surplus authorities computer systems to veterans and others in want. | Dmitry-A/Shutterstock

A brand new legislation permits the federal authorities to offer surplus and repairable used computer systems on to nonprofit refurbishers, who will then present them to people in want.

Tucked throughout the sprawling 2023 spending invoice handed by Congress and signed by President Biden in December was a provision updating how the federal authorities is allowed to eliminate its used computer systems.

Beforehand, the legislation allowed federal companies to offer surplus property – together with laptop gear – ​​to states, which might then present it to native governments, companies or nonprofit teams. However a number of the gear wants restore and refurbishment first, and the federal authorities did not have the authority to offer the electronics on to third-party electronics refurbishers.

Invoice language backed by US Rep. Abigail Spanberger, D-Va., gives that authority. The language was beforehand included in a invoice known as the “Computer systems for Veterans and College students Act of 2022.”

In line with a press launch From Spanberger’s workplace, the language will “enable licensed, nonprofit refurbishing corporations to straight get hold of, refurbish and distribute surplus authorities computer systems to veterans and others in want of a tool. Moreover, the brand new legislation requires every nonprofit laptop refurbisher receiving computer systems to offer coaching applications in using this know-how.”

In line with the invoice language, surplus laptop and know-how gear may be given to refurbishers provided that the federal company determines the gear is repairable and NIST information sanitation tips are met. For his or her half, refurbishers are required to make essential repairs to the gadgets and distribute them without charge (aside from expenses protecting delivery and dealing with), they usually should supply laptop coaching applications to recipients.

Refurbishers should additionally “use recyclers to the utmost extent practicable within the occasion that surplus laptop or know-how gear transferred underneath this part can’t be repaired or reused.”

The invoice language permits the Normal Companies Administration (GSA) to craft laws to implement the donation program. These laws will embrace the eligibility and certification necessities that nonprofit refurbishers must meet, together with reviewing them for threats to nationwide safety (the GSA must disclose in a report back to Congress any refurbishers with international possession pursuits that acquired federal gear, as properly ).

GSA may even draft laws “figuring out applicable recyclers to eliminate surplus laptop or know-how gear if it can’t be repaired or refurbished underneath this part.”

In a report back to Congress, the GSA will present a tally of computer systems in the end supplied by their refurbisher companions to academic establishments, folks with disabilities, low-income folks, college students, seniors in want or veterans.

The goal is to assist bridge the digital divide, with Spanberger’s workplace noting that the pandemic shifted job software processes, academic alternatives and hiring processes on-line, leaving low-income households, homeless veterans and seniors with out a pc within the lurch.

“After a number of years of pushing this laws ahead, I’m proud to see it cross the end line and be signed into legislation by the President,” Spanberger said in a press launch.

The invoice language has been backed by plenty of electronics recycling stakeholders, together with Tech for Troops, Human-IT, Digitunity and others, together with the dozens of members of the Alliance for Expertise Refurbishing and Reuse (AFTRR).

In an announcement to E-Scrap Information, GSA stated it’s “within the preliminary planning phases of implementing the legislation,” and it’ll seek the advice of with stakeholders because it begins to design this system, known as the Computer systems for Veterans and College students (COVS) program , and set up implementing laws.

“We sit up for implementing this new program to assist bridge the digital divide,” GSA wrote.

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