The idea for the Electronic Recycling Association came to me as the result of an experience I had when I first moved to Canada. My family and I emigrated from Croatia in 1996 and couldn’t bring much with us. Shortly after we settled, the church group that my family and I belonged to gave me a computer. This seemingly small gift had an immeasurable impact on my life. Armed with this precious piece of technology, I began to learn the art of computer science, giving me access to information at the click of a button and the ability to complete school assignments that really stood out.

Later on, I noticed during a trip to the landfill that there were a lot of computers being dumped there. Computers that still had significant useful life in them, a fact I wouldn’t have known if it weren’t for that computer I was given as a young adult. I was surprised that people would just throw away working technology, and so I started collecting those dumped computers and fixing them up. It was a hobby for me, but I quickly discovered that people really wanted these computers that I was fixing up, needed them.

Our society requires technology, it’s one of those things we can’t do without. We cycle through devices for a variety of reasons, but much of the time when something is perceived to be obsolete it actually has a lot of value remaining for someone else. The fact that there is a significant portion of society who cannot afford technology certainly doesn’t negate the necessity of tehnological equipment in today’s world.

I formed the ERA because I saw a great need for better management of the waste created by electronics. The other reason is that I know, from personal experience, how much a donated computer can mean to a family who can’t afford to purchase one.

In this, the ERA’s 10th year anniversary, I would like to personally thank you for your support. Your generosity has made a real difference, and I look forward with great excitement to the positive changes the ERA will continue to make in our communities and for our environment.

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