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In a scheme unique to the Border, residents are being encouraged to deposit unwanted computer monitors at the Sustainability Activity Centre where they will be assessed and repaired, if possible, and donated to local refugee families.
Sanctuary Refugee Group spokesperson Penny Vine was delighted with the plan.
The driver of this initiative, Phil Shields, is a nurse, electronics engineer and one of Repair Cafe Albury-Wodonga’s battery-operated appliance repairers.
Last year he fixed five broken monitors and donated them to Sanctuary Refugee Group.
“I went scouting for broken monitors and selected good-looking ones that I thought I’d have a good chance of fixing,” he said.
“They were mostly simple common fixes, but the owners obviously decided to ditch them because of the repair cost. It took me about two hours per monitor. Usually it was a simple fix like replacing the power supply.”
Australians are among the highest users of technology, and e-waste is one of the fastest growing types of waste.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australians buy more than four million computers annually. Unfortunately they have a finite life with many ending up in landfill.
Governments have introduced a scheme to facilitate computer and television recycling, breaking down the products into their various components, many of which can be recycled for future use.
“It’s better to try repairing before recycling, but any monitors I can’t repair will be placed in the national television and computer recycling scheme at the Albury Waste Management Centre.” Mr Shields said.
In the mid-1970s Mr Shields was one of the first technicians employed at the Sanyo colour television factory in Wodonga.
“As a hobby I then began repairing computer monitors when they first came into being. It is just another form of technology to me – I have an internal drive to understand and master any electronic technology.”
When asked his motivation to repair and donate computer monitors, he said he had accumulated a great deal of knowledge over the years and that it would be a waste to not use it for some good.
Residents are encouraged to bring their unwanted, preferably more modern computer monitors to The Sustainable Activity Centre, Gateway Island, during opening hours; Wednesday to Friday 10am- 5pm and Saturdays 9am – noon.

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