Tech-Takeback was set up following a series of conversations between David Greenfield from SOENECS and Andy Burdon from Erase My Data when they were working at the ITAD ICTR (which was the first in the country to receive ADISA Distinction with Honours). At ICTR, following David’s previous public sector work, he enquired as to why there was no service for residents and Andy’s view was that collection was the most difficult aspect, followed by processing which would be more challenging and time-consuming. When both had left ICTR, David met Cat Fletcher from Freegle and discussed the challenges of electronic waste and the three of them decided to see if they could capture household WEEE in a safe and secure way using a community partner (Freegle), an IT specialist (Erase My Data) and a co-ordinator (SOENECS), hence the birth of Tech-Takeback.
In 2016, the Founders of Tech-Takeback (SOENECS Ltd, Erase My Data and Freegle) undertook a small trial at a Brighton coffee shop enabling residents to donate their old unwanted tech so that Tech-Takeback could arrange for data-bearing items to be data-erased and reused.
Their ultimate vision was that, depending on the condition of the tech, for it either to be given a second-life for charities or those digitally deprived, or if the condition prevented this, for the components to be responsibly removed for reuse or as a last resort, recycled. Due to the positive response of Brighton residents to the first trial, on behalf of Tech-Takeback, SOENECS drafted an application in response to a DTS WEEE Fund bid. Brighton & Hove City Council agreed to submit the bid as a Local Authority and the grant was awarded for the completion by Tech-Takeback, in partnership with Brighton & Hove City Council, of five pop-ups to enable Brighton & Hove residents to donate their unwanted tech.
The response was excellent, with Brighton & Hove residents generously donating 8.91 tonnes across the five pop-ups which were held at various Council locations (eg a shop, community rooms and a museum), plus at the University of Sussex. It was particularly reassuring that many residents visited multiple times and were willing to travel to us regardless of location, and that they recommended Tech-Takeback to their friends and constantly asked when and where Tech-Takeback would be popping up next. The fifth pop-up was the first one held in Hove and the feedback received was that the residents want Tech-Takeback to hold other pop-ups there.
Freegle help people give and get things for free in their local community. Some people have stuff they don't want any more. Other people would like things they don't have. We match them up.
SOENECS provides strategic advice and support to the public and private sectors and specialises in the fields of waste management, resource management, climate change, circular economy, renewable deployment, carbon management and partnership delivery.