Plugable USB and Bluetooth devices make life better for computer users. But sadly, not every Plugable device finds a home right away. Sometimes perfectly good products come back to us. Maybe it wasn’t the right device for the customer’s scenario. It might have been a warranty return, but the problem wasn’t actually the hardware. Over time, these products accumulate, and the question arises: How to dispose of them responsibly?
A returned product in brand-new condition that passes all tests might go out as a warranty replacement. But what about a perfectly good device that comes back in a damaged package or with minor scuffs and scratches?
“We don’t want working electronics to needlessly end up in a landfill as they so often do,” said Bernie Thompson, Plugable’s founder. “We work to find non-profits and local community groups that can put our devices to good use.”
The French Immersion School of Washington is a non-profit, bilingual preschool and elementary school dedicated to helping students become culturally aware and better world citizens by immersing them in French as a second or third language. Plugable has set up a 25-seat computer lab there using donated Plugable multiseat docking stations. This allows five computers to accommodate an entire class of 25 students, saving space, maintenance costs, and energy.
The lab is used frequently by the 5th grade class of Yvan Tabellion, a teacher at the school. “Thanks to Plugable,” he said, “we have been able to reorganize our computer lab, optimize our small space, and eventually create the space to buy new computers. The docks are also very easy for our students to use as they are small and compact.”
Several times a year, Plugable donates boxes of products of all kinds to Interconnection.org, a local non-profit. Resuable devices are refurbished and supplied to schools and other charities in the US and abroad. Others are provided inexpensively to low-income families who could otherwise not afford computer equipment. Less usable devices are recycled and the funds are used to support the organization’s programs. Refurbishing devices provides job training for disadvantaged individuals looking for a chance to enter Seattle’s expanding high-tech workforce.
At Plugable, our vision of an ideal business extends beyond our commitment to better products and customer service. We also want to minimize any negative impacts, like electronic waste. Getting used equipment into the hands of people that use it for good is an important part of the “Plugable way.”