Shanghai’s first waste computer recycling center designed to help underprivileged students is meeting competition from private collectors who pay cash for older machines.
Since opening last November, the centert in Xuhui District has received about 10,000 discarded computers, meaning it only gets one in 70.
The biggest problem is that most people prefer to sell their old computers to private collectors for about RMB50 ($7.32) to RMB100.
Zhang Binfeng, who is in charge of the center, said, ‘It is just a little money for them but it causes great damage to society and the environment.
"Private collectors sell some still-usable computers in second-hand shops. It is dangerous to use these computers and they may easily break down."
Other non-usable parts of computers are burnt to get the useful metal or buried under the ground, which causes pollution.
About 300 recycled computers, with authorized software, have been created by the center in the past 10 months, all of which have been approved as safe and environmentally friendly by authorities.
Most of these computers will be donated to students in poverty-stricken areas in the central and western regions of China. Others will be sold for between RMB200 and RMB800 to rural families who cannot afford a new computer.
Li Jingyi, a Fudan University student with an old computer, said: "It’s good news to me … 100 yuan won’t improve my life but giving the computer to this network can protect the environment and help the poor."
China Daily reports that the center, sponsored by the Shanghai Federation of Returned Overseas Chinese, the Shanghai Electronic Waste Recycling Center and the Computer Association, has received help from both government and companies.