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Local nonprofit supplies low-cost recycled technology


TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Today is International Clean Air Day. It’s a day to recognize what work needs to be done to reduce harmful air pollution.

Landfills have largely contributed to producing harmful emissions.

A local nonprofit is keeping used technology out of landfills by recycling that technology for eventual sale at a low price.

The nonprofit We Care Tucson takes used technology, recycles what they can’t use, and refurbishes what they can.

The refurbished devices are then sold at low prices. Executive Director MeMe Aguila said this helps bridge the digital divide.

“When you talk about the digital divide, we’re talking about people that can’t afford the technology,” she said.

Aguila said the importance of devices like laptops makes it difficult for people to choose between necessities.

“When you are wondering how you’re going to feed your family, spending eight or nine hundred dollars on a computer just isn’t reality,” Aguila said.

Simba Rusita needed to buy an affordable laptop for work. He said We Care Tucson gave him that opportunity.

“I don’t have a lot of money at the moment because I’m new in America and I needed a laptop because the one I had coming to America broke,” Rusita said. “So I needed to find something that was affordable, within my budget, and actually good.”

The nonprofit also has a low cost computer program where a person or agency can refer someone who needs a laptop but can’t afford one. “For a very minimal cost we’ll get them a laptop,” said Aguila.

Aguila says volunteers and interns help make this happen.

Colleen Morgan couldn’t find a job, and Pima Community College connected her with organizations to help pay for her studies in informational technology.

That’s what brought her to We Care Tucson.

“Thought it would be a good place to get hands on, and also it’s a good thing to have on my resume,” said Morgan.

She said these are skills essential for her career, and she’s excited to keep learning.

“We just replaced the mouse pad, took a good mouse pad out of this laptop and put it in this laptop. That’s the first time I’ve done it,” she said.

Volunteers like Morgan, partnerships, and donations keep the nonprofit going.

MeMe Aguila hopes their reach expands so their computer program can eventually go from low cost to free.

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Reyna Preciado is a reporter for KGUN 9, she joined the KGUN 9 team in July of 2022 after graduating Arizona State University. Share your story ideas with Reyna by emailing reyna.preciado@kgun9.com or by connecting on Instagram, or Twitter.

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