Brent Council in London has hit on a way to comply with the European Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment directive for the responsible disposal of computer hardware, while also helping parts of the world in need of a technology boost.
The council has been giving its old computers and equipment to Computer Aid International, which distributes them to schools and hospitals in Africa.
So far, the council has donated more than 500 PCs, laptops and monitors which Computer Aid International arranges to be wiped of all data, free of charge, before shipping them to Africa.
The move boosts the council's corporate social-responsibility programme while also helping dispose of equipment in accordance with the European Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive, which came into force in July last year.
Duncan McLeod, director of finance at Brent Council, said reusing IT equipment, rather than recycling, is the main reason for working with Computer Aid International, and that it makes a huge difference in developing countries.
Brent council is also able to follow where its IT equipment ends up. So far, its equipment has gone to Ghana's National Health Students Association and the Crescent Future Kids organisation in Zambia, which helps give young people the skills to contribute to their nation's economy.
McLeod added that the ability to track where the equipment ends up allows the council to let its staff know about the good work its doing.
Louise Richards, chief executive of Computer Aid International, said the support of donors such as Brent Council is vital in fulfilling the United Nations Millennium Development Goals to reach marginalised groups and reduce poverty.