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This is a policy development page concerning an update to the currently adopted Mandate
Summary of changes
Workgroup: General on Oct 2011
Discussion is taking place at the fg-governance list


Free Geek is a nonprofit community organisation that reduces the environmental impact of waste electronics by reusing and recycling donated technology. Through community engagement we provide education, job skills training, Internet access and free or low cost computers to the public.


Dispose of equipment in an ethical and environmentally responsible manner

We are a reuse and recycling center; a large part of our mission is environmental.


We think reuse is often the most conserving form of recycling. It usually involves less energy expenditure and potential pollutants that arise during manufacturing and transport. It also reduces consumption and the harvest of virgin materials.

Recycling regionally and ethically

We recycle as locally as possible, so that we can hold those recyclers accountable, and so that fuel is not wasted in transport. We prefer to recycle in BC when we can, and we don't want to send materials outside Canada or the US. These countries' environmental restrictions and worker protections tend to hold recyclers more responsible than recyclers in poorer countries. We absolutely refuse to send materials to a non-OECD country, in accordance with the Basel Convention. As a last resort for materials that cannot be recycled locally, we might send equipment to OECD countries, only using recyclers that can document sustainable processes. This sort of thought process and accountability - evaluating options and choosing the one that's the least harmful (and the most helpful) for people and the environment - is important to us.

Use Free and Open source software and promote the Free Software philosophy

We use free and open source software wherever possible, and promote the free software philosophy in other ways, such as transparent collaboration with others. The free software philosophy, with its emphasis on mutual assistance and freedom, is important to what we are; all of our software, documentation, and policies are open to whoever wants to avoid reinventing the wheels we've made.

Provide low and no-cost computer training and technology to our community

We believe that empowering people is an essential part of equipping them. Rather than just dropping free hardware on folks, we want to educate them, and facilitate their self-sufficiency. We also want to involve them in creating a community where they can circulate their knowledge and empower others.

Run in a non-hierarchical way which is transparent and open to all program participants

Our volunteers help shape Free Geek and determine our priorities and practices. We operate using a form of consensus, and we are currently developing our governance structure. Our meetings and mailing list archives are open to the public. Our staff is a collective -- there's no boss.


The use of the Free Geek name and association with Free Geek Portland carries some restrictions, this mandate and these policies are designed to comply with those restrictions in addition to our goals.