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From Trash to Treasure – IT Collection, Reuse, and Donation

Trash To Treasure: Program Overview

At McMaster University, IT waste is either recycled through Greentec International Inc., or reused through IT waste collection cages and on E-Waste Collection, Reuse, & Recycle Day. The Trash to Treasure program leverages collaboration between McMaster University and community partners to support at-risk children and improve the university’s IT waste collection system.

Trash to Treasure team members and at-risk children at Cathy Weaver Elementary

Upcoming Events

E-Waste Collection, Reuse & Recycle Day is scheduled for October 22, 2021. Details to follow.

A reuse event for all students, staff and faculty is scheduled to be held a few weeks later.

Students collecting and disassembling IT waste for reuse and recycling

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 e-waste 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

Children in need will receive computers.

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.

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.