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Salvation Army’s trading arm sets sights on helping enterprises reuse their IT devices

Trading arm of Christian church charity The Salvation Army is expanding beyond textile recycling to help businesses reuse and recycle their e-waste

The Salvation Army’s trading arm, known as SATCoL, is seeking to raise money for its charitable endeavours by branching out into the recycling and resale of business IT equipment, including PCs and mobile devices.

The organisation claims to be the largest charity-owned textiles collector in the UK, and provides a means for businesses to donate excess, returned or faulty stock that can be reused, repurposed and recycled, and is now turning its attention to doing the same for business IT devices, too.

Speaking to Computer Weekly, Richard Shea, service development manager at SATCoL, said the organisation routinely diverts more than 250 million items away from being disposed of each year, and has set its sights on saving more than 5,000 IT devices over the next 18 months.

“We learnt that business electricals are being thrown away with general waste, and this awareness presented an opportunity for us to extend their useful life and divert items away from disposal,” he said.

“The demand for devices – both professionally and personally – is growing at a rapid speed, and, thanks to our Data Destruction scheme, we can make these items even more accessible to everyone. This maximises the good we do and helps to sustain our planet.”

The aforementioned SATCoL Data Destruction scheme is police and government approved, according to Shea, and is used to wipe the data from all of the devices the organisation receives.

“We are proudly working in partnership with an approved data-wiping software which conforms to the HM government Infosec Standard 5 and – alongside our logistics network – ensures the secure collection, storage and cleaning of all devices,” he said. “This software is approved by the National Cyber Security Centre, [which is] the UK government’s national technical authority for information assurance.”

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The idea is that once the devices are wiped, they can be distributed for sale through SATCoL’s 240 retail sites or its e-commerce platform, with the focus on pricing them affordably to help close the digital divide.

The organisation also does not charge companies for taking away their e-waste, with the SATCoL stating that it wants to help firms operate in a more sustainable way while helping them to cut costs.

“The service is fully funded by SATCoL, which can significantly reduce spending for businesses, and it’s an efficient way to supply devices to The Salvation Army charity stores and raise vital funds to support the community,” said Shea.

“The profits that SATCoL receives from the resale of our generously received donations are given to The Salvation Army to continue to support the great work they do, such as specialist support for survivors and potential victims of modern slavery, shelter for those experiencing homelessness and so much more.”

All of the donations SATCoL receives are taken to a purpose-built processing site in the East Midlands, with Shea talking up the organisation’s commitment to supporting the ongoing development of the UK’s circular economy.

“Some 7% of the world’s gold may be in e-waste and 200,000 tonnes of business electricals are being thrown away with general waste,” he said. “We are already sorting and processing around 65,000 tonnes of donated textiles every year, and our vision is to scale up our Data Destruction services to meet high figures like this over the coming years.”

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