Repurposing vs. Recycling: Closing the Education Gap by Bridging the Digital Divide.

Repurposing vs. Recycling: Closing the Education Gap by Bridging the Digital Divide.

This is the final part of a three-part series detailing the benefits of CircleIT’s prioritization of repurposing over recycling electronic devices. You can view parts one and two here.


The digital divide is the gap between those that can take advantage of technology (e.g., access to electronic devices and the internet) and those that cannot. Whether it is because of age, location, income, or education, lacking technological access can create massive disadvantages. This is especially true for school-age children who cannot participate in online learning or develop the digital skillset necessary to function and gain employment in the modern world. By building a circular economy that prioritizes repurposing over recycling, CircleIT is aiming to close the digital education gap and provide technological access to the children left behind.


Refurbishing and repurposing used devices enables CircleIT to provide affordable technology for underprivileged schools. Not every family or school is financially stable enough to provide the equipment necessary for students to join in online classes or complete digital schoolwork. And as supply chain shortages and pandemic-driven demand impact the supply and price of new laptops, cash-strapped school districts are losing out to those with deeper pockets. Adding used electronics to the marketplace helps to alleviate supply concerns and save underfunded communities money.


As a B Corporation, CircleIT prioritizes its community impact. And through its product reuse partnerships, CircleIT has already put used computers into the hands of students in need. But to broaden its community outreach to more schools, families, and students, CircleIT needs to increase the number of devices it repurposes. This can be achieved through CircleIT’s certified environmental, social, and governance (ESG) program.


Corporations feel pressure to improve their social standing and decrease their environmental footprint. When a company partners with CircleIT, it can do both. CircleIT’s ESG program not only allows corporate partners to access industry-leading ITAD services, but provides positive social and environmental impacts that clients can include in their sustainability reports. When CircleIT translates a company’s technological turnover into affordable devices for a school district, it becomes a win for the students and the company.


Traditionally, corporations would partner with ITAD providers that produce short-term profits via onerous revenue-sharing contracts and a focus on maximizing profits – this often results in recycling a device instead of repairing and reusing it. These types of actions take potential life-enriching electronics out of the hands of students who need them and are detrimental to the environment. CircleIT has created a new value in the ITAD space – ESG credit – which helps achieve the triple bottom line focused on profit, people and planet.


Compared to climate change and the e-waste crisis, the digital divide receives little attention despite its importance. Through community and corporate partnerships, CircleIT can repurpose more electronics while providing students with an opportunity to get ahead in a technologically demanding world.