RECOSI – a leading social franchise in the reuse of ICT (Information and Communication Technology)
WHERE: Ireland, Slovenia, UK, USA
WHEN: 2014 – present
WASTE MANAGEMENT HIERARCHY: Reuse/Repair/Refurbishment
TYPE OF INSTRUMENT: Awareness (Education, information, awareness raising); Voluntary (Voluntary/promotional)
WASTE STREAMS: Information and Communication Technology, Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE)
About: RECOSI (Regional and European Co-Operative for Social Industry) is a social franchise operating in the reuse and refurbishment of ICT (PC, laptops, monitors, tablets) & WEEE (waste electrical and electronic equipment).
RECOSI’s mission is to create sustainable social franchise that supports employment for marginalised people, supports the environment through reuse and closes the digital divide. RECOSI supplies high quality refurbished ICT products to schools, non-profit organisations, SMEs, students and to all other end users, who has either limited access to IT or want to save costs. RECOSI is headquartered in Ireland and offers its services in Europe and US.
It was formed in Ireland in early 2014 by a group of like-minded individuals, who want to help to develop social enterprises, which operate mainly in the area of reuse of IT equipment and WEEE.
Their vision is to become a leading global social franchise in the area of professional reuse and refurbishment of ICT equipment and create real jobs for disadvantaged people in the reuse industry. Goal is to create large social, economic and environmental impact globally
For the refurbishment of ICT equipment, RECOSI has signed a deal with Microsoft, through their registered refurbished scheme, to supply licences for all PCs and laptops that company sells.
All software and data is wiped, company has also acquired PAS 141 standard for reuse and refurbishment of the electronic goods, so that each item is undergoing a strict process of refurbishment and it has a minimum of 12 months warranty.
RECOSI established a strategic partnership with Techsoup Global, which supports NGOs with software and through their network in Slovenia and Italy already supplies high quality hardware.
In its short period RECOSI has developed into a successful multi-national company providing a range of innovative reuse services in the area of IT and WEEE across Ireland, UK, USA and Europe.
Recosi fully operates since 2014 and in this time has reused more than 150.000 pcs of ICT, employed 25 people (1/3 disadvantaged) and has its operations in Ireland, US and Slovenia.
In January 2017 RECOSI has implemented successful Irish social enterprise model in Slovenia with support of local municipality Slovenska Bistrica.
For remarketing of the refurbished equipment RECOSI has established a brand „RECOSITech”. Under this brand RECOSI is selling high quality refurbished Tier 1 products of well known brands like Apple, Dell, Toshiba, HP, Fujitsu, Lenovo.
RECOSITech is selling to NGOs, schools, charities, B2B and other end users high quality refurbished laptops, desktops, tablets, computers with 12 month warranty.
RECOSITech is the brand that they use for the sale & donation of equipment to charities, non profits and disadvantaged, individuals. You can see some of their products here http://recositech.com/
PAY IT FORWARD with RECOSI is a corporate donations programme which facilitates companies in the secure donation of IT equipment to disadvantaged schools, charities and community groups.
Data is certifiably erased; the equipment rebuilt with a Microsoft Operating System and they PAY IT FORWARD on your behalf.
PAY IT FORWARD not only helps charities, schools and community groups but it also supports the sustainable of employment of marginalised people and also those with disabilities.
Urban metabolism relevance
Their goal is to develop a large operational footprint among social enterprises around the world, which are providing job opportunities for disadvantaged/disabled people. They want to develop their commercial departments in order to create more income and replace grants and donations.
With their unique single model they want to:
• Offer professional training in order to help professionalise social enterprises working or that they wish to work in the reuse industry.
• Help social enterprises to develop an asset recovery process for the reuse of IT equipment and increase the reuse and reduction of WEEE.
• Help social enterprises to develop a market for reused IT equipment and other WEEE scrap material and create more job opportunities in the Social Economy.
The project contributes to the reduction of air, water and soil pollution, the reduction of WEEE, the preservation of important raw materials used in the production of electronics (metals, plastics, etc.), has both an important social and environmental impact, supports social enterprises which are operating in the field of reuse of IT and WEEE in achieving more sustainable development and contributes to the improvement of urban metabolism in the region where it is implemented.
RECOSI has worked with industry experts to develop specialised software for the Asset Recovery & Recycling industry specifically designed to be used by Social Enterprises and their clients & staff.
RECOSI’s ARW system manages the entire inventory of company, region.
RECOSI’s Asset Recovery Services are focused extending the life cycle, generating value from used IT equipment and creating an environmentally sustainable disposal solution for anything unsuitable for reuse.
As companies tend to upgrade IT and hardware
peripherals on average of every 3 years, RECOSI can help to reduce the cost of this upgrade by offering value return through a large network of secure trade and end user outlets.
RECOSI can also offer socially responsible solutions and manage the donation of equipment to educational and charitable bodies of their choice in a secure and transparent manner.
Engaged participatory processes
Social franchising is significantly different from commercial franchising. A social franchise is set up not to maximise profits, but to enable people to share ideas, work together, create and build.
The founder is driven by a social goal, such as the employment of disadvantaged people, the creation of a fair and equal society or environmental concerns. As such the social franchise has a important social purpose and is often owned by its social franchise members but importantly it has to be profitable. Without these profits it could not survive and grow and meet its social aims.
RECOSI has developed a robust social franchise model supported with an ARW software system to promote and support every enterprise at a global level.
• Business support for IT reuse centres
• Technical support to centres in setting up and operation
• Comprehensive professional training programmes
• Remarketing support
• ARW System, a specialised software for IT reuse and WEEE recycling
Sustainability and replicability
This practice could be transferred to any other country or region, it has been already established in 3 locations (Ireland, US and Slovenia). Similar projects exists in other regions from Europe.
Practice can be implemented as social franchise, RECOSI will support interested potential organisation in the whole processes of establishment (required capital investment, establishment of supply chain, establishment of processing/production and support in marketing).
The potential organisation is preferred to be a social enterprise, whose mission is to provide job for disadvantaged people.
Organisation must have also good business skills, established a good network and good connection with local community / municipality.
A city in Europe need for set up the work processes and an accredited Reuse Centre in the proper building would need an investment which can reach to 300,000 EUR depending on everyone budget and 5 people:
• 1 general manager
• 1 Marketing/sales
• 1 technician
• 1 operation manager
• 1 person for administration
- RECOSI established a social enterprise RECOSI d.o.o. in Slovenia, which is partnering with Zavod MISSS (Techsoup partner in Slovenia).
- In Yuma Arizona (USA) RECOSI has a strategic partnership with the charity Achieve Human Services, where it helped to establish a social enterprise for the refurbishment of IT. Achieve Enterprise Services is providing employment & training for people with disability.
- For remarketing of the refurbished equipment RECOSI has established a brand “RECOSITech”. Under this brand RECOSI is selling high quality refurbished Tier 1 products of well known brands like Apple, Dell, Toshiba, HP, Fujitsu, Lenovo
- RECOSITech is selling to NGOs, schools, charities, B2B and other end users high quality refurbished laptops, desktops, tablets, computers with 12 month warranty.
- Other strategic partnerships: with Microsoft, Techsoup Global
- finding resources for business, getting necessary permits and standards which cost a lot,
- finding a right partner (social enterprise), who must be business driven and has a very a good support within the local community and an established network of contacts.