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ACCESS Tech: IT Collection, Reuse, and Donation

ACCESS Tech: Program Overview

Students from a third year Academic Sustainability Program course are collaborating with McMaster’s Facility Services and University Technology Services (UTS) to coordinate the event. Empowerment Squared, a local charitable organization that empowers newcomer, racialized, and marginalized communities with the tools and opportunities to thrive, will distribute the donated technology to local Hamiltonian families and children.

Upcoming Event: october 22nd

The next ACCESS Tech IT reuse donation drive is on Friday, October 22, 2021 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Friday, October 22nd outside on campus on the lawn in the tent in front of Burke Science Building. 


Students collecting and disassembling IT waste for reuse and recycling

ACCESS Tech Drive FAQs

There is no limitation as to what you can donate, however, there are specific generational criteria to follow. Mobile devices cannot be over 3 years old. Mobile devices older than 3 years can be recycled at the event. Any other item such as keyboards, mouses etc. do not have a hard age restriction. Examples of IT that can be donated include laptops, phones, home computers and tablets.

For mobile devices, a reset and SIM-unlocking is required for reuse in the local community. For other devices, University Technology Services (UTS) will perform data sanitization.

Empowerment Squared (ES), a local non-profit organization, refurbishes and distributes the equipment we collect and sanitize. The items donated will be distributed to Hamiltonian families in need. Any family or children who require it for school or work purposes or overall require access to additional resources.

Yes!  For curb-side drop off on October 22nd for those who may be off campus, you can drop off your used technology for donation to the ACCESS Tech event in the receiving bay of Campus Services Building in west campus. Find a map of where to drive up your donation here and look for #31 Campus Services Building.

IT Waste Disposal Process

Have IT waste? Choose a way to get rid of it (see Step 1), and everything else will be taken care of! Pickup is free if:

  • It occurs within two weeks in advance of a collection event
  • Desired items are included:
    • 4th-generation Intel Core i5 (2014) computer + monitor + mouse + keyboard
    • laptop
    • recent (less than 3 years old) factory-reset mobile device

Step 1: Pickup/Drop-off

You can dispose of IT-waste by:

  • dropping it off at the general receiving area
  • shipping it via a mail bag
  • filling out a short online pickup request form:

Step 2: Data Sanitization

UTS will permanently erase the data from all IT waste.

Step 3: Refurbishing

Community partners will refurbish the usable devices.

Step 4: Reuse

Hamiltonians in need will receive the technology..

The remainder of the IT waste will be upcycled at a campus reuse event open to all McMaster students, staff and faculty.

Frequently Asked Questions

UTS assumes the responsibility of fully sanitizing the collected hard drives, including hard drives from computers collected by Facility Services as well as those brought to collection events.

Sanitization, also known as data erasure or wiping, is a secure means of erasing data on magnetic media, such as hard drives in computers. Other methods, such as reformatting or directory removal, are not sufficient to securely erase data; it will still be recoverable. Ensure your data is securely sanitized by taking advantage of this program.

For mobile devices – here is the process of resetting iPhones, iPads, and Androids:

Android Reset Instructions

iPhone and iPad Reset Instructions

We are collecting both university-generated IT waste and personal devices. Yes, this means you can bring in your old laptop(s) or home computer(s), or those provided by friends, family, or acquaintances. However, if you are a business looking to increase IT reuse, we refer you to our community partners.

Yes, but due to the difficulty in guaranteeing secure data erasure, we ask that you reset your mobile device to factory settings before donating. Otherwise, they will be recycled.

A service charge is usually applied to the collection of IT waste items when the Facility Services phone number is used. For 2021, Facility Services has pledged that NO service fee will be applied to faculty & staff up to two weeks in advance of the collection event, or if desired items are included.