Mayor Scott partners with e-waste recycler PCs for people to help close digital divide

1587

Mayor and BCIT Donate Devices to Families in Baltimore

BALTIMORE, MD (Tuesday, February 2, 2021) — Mayor Brandon M. Scott and the Baltimore City Office of Information and Technology (BCIT) joined forces with PCs for People to coordinate an effort to collect and donate more than 900 computers and other equipment to low-income students and families in Baltimore City. PCs for People opened in Baltimore last year and opened a storefront location in East Baltimore (2901 E. Biddle St) earlier this year.

In 2020, Baltimore City signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the nonprofit PCs for People allowing City agencies to donate retired computers and electronic equipment to local students and families in need, rather than sending this technology to the landfill. The MOU also allows outdated and unsalvageable electronics to be recycled, with the proceeds benefiting PCs for People’s digital literacy programs, technical support services, and subsidized internet access.

“I am proud of our partnership with PCs for People to securely donate our agencies’ retired computers and electronics for the benefit of low-income students and families in Baltimore,” said Mayor Brandon M. Scott. “We know that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing inequities, including the digital divide. With many of our families not having the proper access to electronics for remote working, virtual learning, and telehealth, we need to renew our efforts to ensure everyone has access to the 21st century technology they need to be successful.”

Founded in 2008 in St. Paul, Minnesota, PCs for People works with more than 1,500 electronics recycling partners nationwide. To date, the organization has provided refurbished computers to more than 300,000 people, connected more than 120,000 households to low-cost internet, and diverted 8 million pounds of e-waste from landfills.

“One of the tenets of our Digital Transformation Strategic Plan is to dismantle the digital divide,” said Todd Carter, Chief Digital Officer/CIO of Baltimore City. “With the arrival of PCs for People we saw an opportunity to involve agencies across the city in giving new life to our retired electronics equipment and helping the thousands of Baltimore residents who lack digital devices and services to get connected.”

PCs for People’s services meet or exceed industry standards with certification for data security and sanitization from the National Association of Information Destruction (NAID AAA), and are recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as responsible stewards of electronics, who provide safe and sustainable recycling practices.

“In a world where employment opportunities, government services, and education increasingly rely on digital connectivity, it is imperative that historically disadvantaged communities have the digital access to engage,” said Gary Bonner, the Executive Director of PCs for People – Baltimore. “As a nonprofit social enterprise, we’re counting on buy-in, and we’re thrilled that Mayor Scott and the city are leading the way.”

“This is a step toward closing the digital divide and moving Baltimore towards becoming a zero waste city,” continued Mayor Scott. “I thank PCs for People and other organizations for their hard and innovative work in service of digital equity in Baltimore.”

City agencies are encouraged to contact Kenya Asli at BCIT to donate retired devices by emailing Kenya.Asli@baltimorecity.gov.

Businesses and organizations interested in PCs for People’s e-waste recycling services can call (443) 396-7247 or email maryland@pcsforpeople.org.