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Turing Trust Circular Economy Effort Adds Up

Posted: 3rd October 2019

It’s not hard to compute – the work done by the Edinburgh workshop of The Turing Trust is playing a significant part in creating a circular economy that benefits people and the environment.

The Trust supports education by providing reused computers to schools and improving teacher training. It also provides skills development in the UK while reducing waste and contributing to an environmentally friendly society.

And it does this by extending the life of computers, giving them up to five more years of useful life providing essential education for young people at home and abroad, and saving the technology from ending up as expensive and useless waste.

And they are urging others to play their part in creating a circular economy in Scotland’s capital by working with Circular Edinburgh.

A circular economy looks to keep the flow of materials and products within the economy for as long as possible, extracting the maximum value from them whilst in use.  It’s where businesses, industry and consumers work together to make things last.

Circular Edinburgh is an initiative funded by Zero Waste Scotland and delivered by Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, supported by funding from both the Scottish Government and the European Regional Development Fund through the £73million Resource Efficient Circular Economy Accelerator Programme. Circular Edinburgh delivers a programme of engagement to promote the circular economy to local businesses.

James Turing of The Turing Trust said: “From our workshop in Edinburgh we repair and refurbish thousands of PCs each year to support local charities and African schools. Over the last few years we are particularly proud of being able to be part of transforming secondary education in Malawi where we have installed computers in 41 schools, helping 15,000 students to learn ICT skills for the first time.

“We work with all kinds of businesses, as well as households, in the UK collecting donations of redundant computers, mobiles and tablets that can be reused in schools. We believe that there is still great value to be found from used ICT equipment. Whilst a 3-year old computer might not suit the purposes of a business anymore, it can still be a revolutionary tool in a school that otherwise might be trying to teach computer studies with chalkboard drawings! By repurposing this equipment we can typically extend the lifetime of a computer by 5 years through our long-term maintenance programme and using specialised software to enable PCs to continue providing an educational platform.

“The UK produces over 1 million tonnes of e-waste each year, of which PCs are a vast proportion. This means that millions of working devices are thrown away each year just because they are a little dated. We’ve demonstrated over the last few years what educational benefits can be gained from taking a circular economy approach to reusing this equipment, ensuring it stays in use for as long as possible.”

In the last year the IT reuse programme diverted 14 tonnes of PCs that would otherwise go to waste. In doing so it created equivalent carbon savings of 511 tonnes in 2018. This is the equivalent of planting over 1300 trees or offsetting the annual carbon footprints of 53 British people. The savings are enough to power 71 UK homes for a year.

The total of waste diverted by the Trust and reused instead totals 69 tonnes and that means carbon savings of 2,600 tonnes.

James added; “Almost every company in Scotland has computers, yet very few of them have ever looked into what they should do with their ICT waste beyond their legal obligations. We think this is a fantastic opportunity for companies to do something good for both people and the planet, simply by looking at where their waste goes.

“Many companies that are now donating their old ICT to us previously had to pay for it to be recycled, simply by rethinking whether it could be reused by somewhere somehow, now hundreds of companies are seeing their old computers get a second life. “

For further information please visit or contact Mayan Grace or Lauren Ridgley on 0131 221 2999 (option 5) or email



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