A Look into Reboot

A Look into Reboot

The Reboot McGill program is a co-operative effort between students and the McGill University administration to collect surplus McGill computers and peripherals, refurbish that equipment if possible, redeploy the equipment on campus where appropriate, donate any unwanted usable equipment and lastly arrange for the proper disposal of all unusable equipment and scrap.

Back in the days, I was barely aware of the growing environmental concerns surrounding the disposal of old computers. Yet the need to get rid of old computer parts, whether it’s peripherals, old boards or even entire machines, is not that uncommon. If you’ve owned a computer within the past fi ve years, you’ve probably encountered this problem.

There has been so much talk about pollution, global warming, the situation in third world countries and all that, so much that it’s starting to turn into a boring subject. Putting two and two together, however, is not always obvious. It might not be that obvious, in fact, how great of an impact replacing your old CRT monitor by a shiny new 24 inch LED might have on your surroundings.

Did you know that a CRT monitor can easily contain over 2 kg of lead? If not disposed of properly, this lead will eventually end up in water sources, and even small (almost undetectable) concentrations of its ions can have devastating consequences on the human nervous system.

CRT monitors are not the only potentially dangerous components in a computer system. As a general rule of thumb, throwing away computers should not be done the same way you throw away your other garbage.

Thankfully, McGill University is very responsible in its disposal policies. If you have unwanted equipment on McGill campus, McGill Waste Management will come pick it up for you, so make sure to take advantage of their services to ensure the proper, environmentally responsible, disposal of old equipment.

Unfortunately, this service is only for McGill campus, so you’ll have to seek other means to recycle your computer at home. With all this fi nally out of the way, let’s look into what Reboot McGill is, and what it means to you.

When McGill Waste Management gets a hold of your old electronics, there is one last step in their glorious journey that took them from a bubble-wrapped package to the hands of an enthusiastic user, through the faithful fulfi lment of their task for several years and on to their eventual redirection towards computer Nirvana.

That step is Reboot. Recycling computers costs money. Getting new computers costs money. There are McGill Clubs and Mc- Gill faculty members in need of computer equipment, whether that’s because they don’t have any at all, or are struggling with a relic that would serve better in a museum. You see where this is going, don’t you? Reboot’s goals are to reduce the amount of equipment recycled by McGill and to provide campus institutions with free machines. And no, they don’t ship equipment to Africa.

But who are the people behind Reboot? Who makes it all possible? Why, it’s McGill students, of course!

Reboot McGill is one of the EUS committees, so its main members are engineering undergrads who have a passion for breaking computers apart.

During the semester, Reboot has scheduled meetings where students can show up and quickly get down to business – wipe hard drives, assemble computers, install operating systems, etc. It’s not hard, so whatever your skills, there will be something for you to do.

Getting involved is quick and easy – just get on the website at


and let Reboot know you are interested.

There are other useful links on that website, so feel free to look around. And how can you get a computer from Reboot? Easy, just fi ll out a request form on their website.

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