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Tackling e-waste one computer at a time, UNSW Business School student Eric Chiu is devoted to reversing the cycle of technological waste by restoring devices for reuse.

Mr Chiu refurbishes, fixes, cleans and securely wipes the devices, then sells them at affordable prices. 

“It allows them to have a second chance as an affordable piece of technology for different members of the community, while reducing Australia's e-wastage,” Mr Chiu says. 

“My business primarily works with the refurbishment and acquiring of ex-corporate, government and lease devices.” 

According to the Global E-waste Monitor, Australia is one of the leading per capita e-waste generators, recycling only 6% of e-waste.

Mr Chiu witnessed the wastage of functional devices first-hand, inspiring him to start his business of refurbishing ‘old’ technology.

“I saw the increasing growth of electronic waste in Australia, having witnessed hundreds of working machines thrown out in my time at school,” the Commerce and Economics student says. 

“I came up with the idea having always been interested in technology from when I was young.”

Mr Chiu's side-hustle is not only an extra source of income, it has also given him the chance to apply knowledge from the classroom to real-world experience. 

“I taught myself how to proficiently use software such as Excel, databases and accounting software,” Mr Chiu says.  

“It has given me an opportunity to apply the skills I have learnt from my university courses such as Marketing and Accounting, applying them in a practical way.”

For Mr Chiu, striking a balance between university and running the business is a matter of pinning down his priorities.  

“I place my university education as a priority … and I schedule sales before or after university, having the convenience of meeting in the CBD for inspection and payment,” Mr Chiu says. 

“I mostly do the logistics and back-end running of the business whenever I have a break or rest period during the day, with most work done on the weekend.”

Mr Chiu believes that his business goes beyond just being a source of income, or an outlet to pursue his interest in technology. 

“It is the satisfaction of meeting different and unique people and being able to help them out in many different ways, whether it be students, corporate workers or pensioners.”