Guest post contributed by Erich Lawson
Recycling of Assistive Technology Devices – A boon for millions!
Millions of people are affected by some kind of disability, the world over. Many are citizens of developing countries. With such huge numbers of lives depending on supportive devices for their survival, Assistive Technology is a revolutionary technological advancement. Assistive Technology (AT) is a collective term comprising assistive, adaptive and rehabilitative devices for people with various disabilities. It is also inclusive of the process used in selecting, locating and using the aforementioned devices.
The Role of AT devices
AT equipment is designed to improve the user’s quality of life, increase confidence and promote independence. Wheelchair, ambulatory aids such as canes, crutches and walkers, hearing aids, seating products that help people to seat comfortably and safely, etc. There are numerous AT devices which help people with disabilities move around, see, communicate, eat and do much more, in a better and more independent way.
Recycling/Reuse programs for AT devices
There are statewide Assistive Technology programs established under the Assistive Technology Act (AT Act). Multiple programs are in place to help individuals access relevant AT devices at low or no cost. The various kinds of recycle/reuse programs are device recycling, exchange, reassignment/redistribution, refurbish and also remanufacturing.
Recycling of Assistive Technology – a boon for the disabled
More and more companies today, are investing heavily in R&D for AT. From wheelchairs to the latest collection of high-tech tools, AT is blooming with more advanced breakthroughs.
However, the demand for such devices is ever increasing while many of these devices remain highly expensive. Hence, affordability is generally an issue with many people with limited income. This is precisely why recycling of AT equipment can be a boon for many.
Recycled or reused AT equipment is quite inexpensive as compared to many new devices. And because AT is rarely covered by medical insurance, many people have to pay from their own pockets. The reused AT equipment can also be bought as surplus for convenience, or as temporary access while individuals wait for their new equipment. They are also useful as a backup system, if the primary AT devices are undergoing repair.
Recycling AT devices is also an important factor when it comes to children with disabilities. As children grow out of their clothes within just a few months, similarly they tend to outgrow their assistive devices, and quickly. In such cases, the outgrown devices are left as is. It would do good to remember here that the device outgrown by your child may be of much use to another. So do not forget to donate. There are many equipment pools which take in AT devices and recycle them.
Apart from benefiting the end-user in multiple ways, recycling AT devices also yields some additional advantages. The much-in-demand AT devices gain an increased lifespan when recycled. And recycling reduces the amount of waste being sent to the landfills, thus reducing the environmental impact of the AT devices. So it’s definitely a win-win on all levels.
Erich Lawson is passionate about saving environment by effective recycling. He has written a wide array of articles on how modern recycling can be used by industries to reduce monthly garbage bills and increase recycling revenue. You can learn more about environment savings techniques by visiting Northern California Compactors, Inc blog.