How One Company Is Giving Old Computers New Life in Amsterdam Schools

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…and how tomorrow’s astronauts, dentists and archaeologists are using them today!

It’s crazy to think about: Almost 50 million metric tonnes of e-waste is produced each year, according to the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) website!

But this isn’t the sort of mind-bending statistic that will get my kids’ attention. So let me paint a kid-friendly picture: 50 million metric tonnes of e-waste is equivalent to 125,000 jumbo jets—more than 82 times the number of these planes ever built!

With that, I might get their interest—and we can start a conversation about why managing all the world’s e-waste is essential for a better future and how we can do our part by recycling our old electronics.

The truth is, kids are often better at recycling than adults—and they are growing up in a world where recycling is becoming easier in some ways. So, I love that the elementary school students in Amsterdam—featured in the video posted below—are so excited and clear in their responses to our question, What do you think should happen to old computers?

To hear their great responses—including how they will use computers when they grow up—watch the video below.

These kids know that used stuff—including technology—is not always garbage. They’re experiencing this fact first-hand as part of the 10,000-plus students in the City of Amsterdam school district learning coding and problem-solving skills on donated, refurbished computer systems from Dutch Bank, ABN AMRO.

When ABN AMRO upgrades its technology, its used computers retire from financial analysis and begin a second life in underprivileged Amsterdam schools. This custom donation program, offered through Dell’s Asset Resale & Recycling (ARR) services, enables the schools to offer technology programs they could not otherwise afford —and  supports ABN AMRO’s corporate responsibility goal of helping youth discover and develop their interests and talents.

Dell’s ARR services has provided ABN AMRO with responsible, secure commercial recycling solutions throughout the Netherlands since 2010. In FY17, the company wanted to expand its solutions to include IT donation—a custom service Dell offers to all business customers worldwide.

In FY17, Dell’s ARR program helped ABN AMRO donate more than 1,200 systems to over 80 primary schools throughout Amsterdam to foster computer literary and coding curriculum in their public education community.

The recycling journey begins with the collection and tagging of ABN AMRO’s used equipment and then securely overwriting all data. Select refurbished computers are then donated to the City of Amsterdam school district, pre-loaded with all necessary educational software. The remaining systems that are not selected for donation are resold by Dell, and the proceeds fund the donation program (so it’s a self-funding program with no additional cost to ABN AMRO). Dell’s ARR handles all logistics of donating and delivering the computers to the schools.

When the donated systems reach their end of life at the schools, Dell collects the used IT products and responsibly recycles them. Dell provides ABN AMRO with fully itemized reporting of each system’s journey from collection to recycling. This reporting, which we compile for all ARR customers, provides critical metrics for sustainability-minded companies like ABN AMRO.

Dell’s ARR services understands that one size never fits all. Dell can provide flexible services including customized donation services, like the program Dell designed for ABN AMRO.

“To make sure there are enough resources to serve the growing middle class, we have to move to a circular economy,” said Richard Kooloos, ABN AMRO’s director of sustainable banking. “And the best way to experience how the circular economy can work is to partner with and learn from companies like Dell who are actually doing it.”

With Dell handling all operational aspects of the donation program, ABN AMRO is free to focus on volunteerism. Following the company’s “Partner of the Future” mission — to discover and develop talent in young children through education in sports, arts and entrepreneurship — its employees regularly lend their technology expertise to help students with their programming lessons.

Since starting the donation program in 2016, more than 130 ABN AMRO employees have volunteered to teach students computer coding and literacy on the company’s donated, refurbished computers.

Last year, the ABN AMRO Foundation partnered with the City of Amsterdam on the Coding for Amsterdam project, which set a world record for the most students (11,386) coding on a single day!

Said Kooloos, “This program helps us achieve more social impact from each dollar we invest. And by giving computers a second life, we can help reduce the demand for raw materials.”

Want to know how your organization can do the same? Check us out.

Dell’s ARR services offers secure, convenient electronic disposition services for businesses in more than 49 countries and territories. Dell manages the full logistics from picking up to responsibly deposing any brand of owned or leased equipment. Once equipment is tested and cleaned, Dell will designate it for resale or recycling—and give you money back for items of value. For used equipment without resale value, Dell will properly dispose/recycle the IT equipment, meeting or exceeding regulatory compliance requirements. And Dell can customize this service for you. Learn more.

This story shares one example of how Dell is committed to driving human progress by putting our technology and expertise to work where it can do the most good for people and the planet.

We invite you to explore our FY17 Annual Update on our 2020 Legacy of Good Plan at

About the Author: John Moody

John Moody serves as Vice President of Client Solutions Services Product Group. In this role, John is responsible for the worldwide design, development and marketing of Dell Support and Deployment services for all client units such as PCs, Thin Clients, Notebook’s and IoT. John has 21 years of Services, Sales/Online Marketing and Product Marketing experience at Dell. Prior to joining Dell in 1996, John worked in Insurance and Health Care Systems Integration for Electronic Data Systems for 8 years. After graduating from the University of Texas at Austin in 1985 with a BBA in Accounting, John worked for Coopers & Lybrand, auditing and consulting in a variety of industries. John is a native Texan who currently lives in Austin, Texas with his wife Lea. John enjoys running, biking and water skiing. He has two children, 26 year old daughter Maddie who also works in the technology industry and 24 year old son Jacob, a university student in Austin.
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