Kaitaia's Eco Centre has been running a pilot scheme to recycle old laptops over the last six months, so successfully that it is now expanding.

The computers are either repaired, upgraded and sold back into the community, or broken down into spare parts, which are then used to repair or upgrade others.

The scheme had not only reduced the amount of electronic waste that was going to the dump, a spokesman said, but provided income for the Eco Centre and a source of cheap parts and working laptops for the community.

It was envisaged that a partner would come on board at some stage in the future to take the "remains" and extract the precious metals and rare earths that were retrievable.

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Now the Eco Centre had acquired the lease on the premises next door to its home in Bank St, which provided the room needed to expand the scheme and promote it over the wider Kaitaia area/Far North. Any laptop, whatever its age and condition, would be accepted, and it would be appreciated if they were accompanied by their adapters/chargers, and any spare ones that might be lying around, so they could be tested and sold, if they were repairable.

Once the expanded scheme was up and running it was hoped to have a wide variety of RAM (for upgrading laptop memories and enhancing performance), hard disk drives (to increase storage capacity), screens, batteries and adapters available second-hand, at a fraction of the cost of their brand new counterparts.

It was also planned to have a variety of tested and working laptops available for between $50 and $200, depending on their age and specification.

"For the scheme to be a success and of value to the community, we need your unused laptops and adapters," the spokesman added.

'You can drop them down to the Eco Centre in Bank St, just behind Subway, any week day from 10am to 4pm.

"There is no cost to drop them off, and no restriction on age or condition, but at this stage we are not taking desktop computers, monitors, phones or other electrical equipment, although that might well change after a review in a couple of months."