Raspberry Pi boards are now being recycled - at the same factory that made them

Raspberry Pi distributor OKdo has launched the first recycling scheme for Raspberry Pi boards.

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The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, Pi 3 Model B+ and Pi 4 are all eligible for recycling.   

Image: Bloomberg / Contributor / Getty Images

Owners of drawers-full of old Raspberry Pi boards can now recycle their devices and even be rewarded for it with a voucher towards their next Pi-related purchase.  

The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, Pi 3 Model B+ and Pi 4 will are all eligible for recycling. The devices can be sent in by their owners to be tested, reconditioned and repackaged, before they are sold again at a lower price than new boards, with a 12-month warranty. 

The initiative was announced back in July and has now officially launched, according to a new blog post published by Raspberry Pi's Ashley Whittaker. 

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OKdo has partnered with Sony, which manufactures the majority of Raspberry Pi boards in its Technology Centre in Wales, and which is where the unused boards will be sent for refurbishment. 

Any device that is sent through the scheme will be tested to original Raspberry Pi standards at Sony's factory, according to OKdo, before it is renewed and repackaged using environmentally friendly materials. Refurbished hardware will be clearly identified as such when it is re-sold. 

Boards that cannot be renewed will still be processed at the Technology Centre to minimize waste. 

"Over 40 million Raspberry Pi computers have been sold since 2012, and the vast majority of these remain in working order, even after their owners have upgraded to more recent versions," said Eben Upton, CEO at Raspberry Pi. "Managed reuse of these surplus units provides an avenue to further reduce our environmental footprint, and we welcome this exciting new initiative from OKdo and Sony." 

Although Sony was originally tasked to produce 10,000 boards a year, demand quickly grew and the Technology Center now manufactures more than 15,000 Pi products per day across 10 different products. The boards are as popular with school children as they are with skilled developers, which means, inevitably, that many users are likely to have older boards lying around gathering dust. 

OKdo recommends that users, once they have checked that their model of Raspberry Pi can be recycled and that it is undamaged, remove the memory card, which can contain personal data and won't be recycled.  

Users can then register for the program, called OKdo Renew, to receive an email with instructions on how to print a pre-paid postage label, before sending off their device in a padded envelope.

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In return, users will receive a discount code to get a £10 reduction ($13) off their next order over £15 ($20) on OKdo.com, whether it is to upgrade to the latest board or to purchase accessories. 

OKdo Renew is the first scheme to recycle pre-loved Raspberry Pi boards and, for now, it is only available in the UK. The manufacturer, however, has made clear that it is planning to make the scheme global later this year. 

"The scheme will aim to begin the recycling of a proportion of the 40 million Raspberry Pi's in circulation today that are pre-loved but no longer used," said Richard Curtin, OKdo's SVP of technology. "Initially, this service is being rolled out across the UK, but we have plans to expand it globally by the end of 2021."