The Squamish Hotspot houses a small computer recycling program and used computer store. We take in donations of used technology from people in the community, clean it up, refurbish it if need be, and make it available to people in the community who may not be able to afford new equipment, while also keeping computers and other technology out of landfills!
The reuse-it program was started with the goal of preventing usable computers in the community from ending up in the land fill. The program has been run by volunteers, interns and staff at the Hotspot.
Over the past few years we have collected a fair amount of computer parts. The goal for all of the computers is to return them to the community in usable condition with each computer being capable of browsing the internet, checking email, and word processing. We try to keep the sale price of computers low so that those in need of a computer can afford them. We take donations of just about any computer equipment and refurbish anything that is usable.
If you are interested in helping out, we’d love to meet you!
Reuse vs Recycle
Before you go and throw out or recycle your computer, please bring it to the Hotspot! There are people in the community who cannot afford a new computer who would be glad to have a used computer. Donating to the Reuse I.T. program helps keep computers in use until they actually need to be recycled.
What we do with donated equipment?
Accessories such as mice, keyboards, and devices, are tested to see if they work and if all of their functionality is possible.
Printers are tested with ubuntu linux to attempt to print a test page. Because printers are often donated without ink, we can only sell the printers that we can print a test page with.
Computers are by far the most complicated of the equipment that we refurbish. There are many things that can go wrong with them and prevent them from working so we need to assess all the components and make sure every part of the computer is working.
Part of this process is making sure the donor’s data is wiped from the hard drive. Wiping the hard drive writes over every single part of the hard drive with random clean data so that none of the old data is still there. If you are still concerned about people accessing your information on the hard drive this link will explain more about the process and why a disk only ever needs to be wiped once.
Once the computer is working properly we install Ubuntu linux on them and sell them back to the community. We try to ensure that all the connector ports, drives, and physical components are working and in good condition before selling. We also ensure that the computers are, at minimum, capable of connecting to the internet, web browsing, word processing and playing movies and music. Most computers made in the past 8-10 years are quite capable of this with the right operating system installed.
What happens with equipment that can’t be returned to the community?
With any piece of equipment that we cannot use, we first try to strip any usable parts and keep any working cables. After striping the devices, we will take them to the bottle depot to be recycled. You can find information on what happens to equipment that is brought to the bottle depot here.
The Hotspot sells computers that volunteers and interns refurbish. These computers are, at minimum, capable of basic text editing, web browsing, and email. The available computers and accessories are dependent upon donations from the community. All proceeds from the computers go towards sustaining the Hotspot Community Resource Centre.
About the Computers
Almost all of our computers have Ubuntu linux installed (which mimics Windows 7). This choice in operating system fits better with our values, avoids licensing problems, and provides the user with best desktop features and powerful programs for little to no cost. Ubuntu and the programs that come with it is free and open source. This means that the community maintains the software and not a large company.
We accept donations of most computer equipment such as desktops, laptops, cell phones and smartphones, flat screen monitors, keyboards, mice, and other accessories.
We DO NOT Accept
We can not accept CRT displays, nonworking printers, inkjet printers without ink, or large office equipment (email or call us however if you do think your item could be useful to us).