Reuse, Recycle and Refurbish Assistive Technology

What do you do when you:

Using Assistive Technology

  • No longer need a piece of assistive technology?
  • Can’t afford to buy new assistive technology?
  • Need an alternative piece of assistive technology as a backup device?
  • Need to properly dispose of assistive technology that is no longer usable?

One of the biggest obstacles to the utilization of assistive technology for people with disabilities is the prohibitive cost of acquiring, repairing, or modifying many of the devices currently available.

Often times, assistive technology devices are purchased without knowing whether the device will be a “good fit” for the individual.  The lack of functional assessments, the “must have” factor, and the lack of information as to what the device can actually do are just several of the reasons why assistive technology devices are not properly utilized.  More often than not, these devices are relegated to a storage closet or just thrown away.  These devices could be matched to individuals who would truly benefit from the device’s use.

People with disabilities can participate in device reutilization through technology matching, long-term equipment loan programs, or through equipment repair/modification programs.  Once the device is no longer needed or relevant for that individual, it can then be paired with someone else who may gain functional use of the device.

What is AT Reuse?

Reuse occurs when assistive technology that is no longer needed is passed along to someone else either by selling, exchanging, or donating the device. Reuse also occurs when devices are repaired and cleaned (refurbished) before they are sold or donated. Eventually a device will reach the end of its life cycle when it no longer serves a purpose and is recycled. Today, AT reuse occurs primarily through device refurbishment, device exchange, and device recycling.

National Resource

Pass It On Cetner's logo

Pass It On Center received a five-year federal grant to coordinate a national collaborative of AT reuse programs from all parts of the United States. The Center provides multi-faceted information on best practices of reuse and maintains a national database of reuse resources. The Center is also overseeing the development of a plan to respond to natural
disasters. To learn more about AT reuse and current Pass It On Center initiatives, visit their website. (Click will open new window)

State Resources

A listing of reuse resources including information on electronic waste and recycling centers is available on STAR’s Web site www.starprogram.state.mn.us

Minnesota STAR Program logo

STAR Technology Exchange

The goal of STARTE, hosted by the Minnesota STAR Program, is to put AT equipment that is not currently being used into the hands of someone who can benefit from it.

All online visitors can:

  • View a list of items donated or for sale
  • View a list of needed items
  • Search for items by category, date posted, or geographical location

Registered users can also:

  • View seller contact information
  • Post items for sale
  • Post a request for needed items
  • Bookmark items of interest
  • Receive e-mail alerts when items are posted matching designated keywords

If you have any devices you wish to donate, need refurbishing, or would like more information about reusing assistive technology, contact the Southern Minnesota Assistive Technology Center at (507) 281-6262.