Global recycling day

recycle, green, earth

I’ve just found out that today is global recycling day. For years, I never knew what to do with old computers I was given when customers upgraded their old ones, and there were only so many family members and friends that would take them, until in November 2019 I discovered Tubbs Computer Supplies.

What is Tubbs Computer Supplies?

Our journey starts with a married man who just got divorced and his wife left him with two sons. He had no money, couldn’t work because of his disabilities and had a hard time raising these kids. He couldn’t get a computer for his kid’s education so he decided that there was a need out there for second hand computers for vulnerable families like his and so he decided to start his own community group.

What do they do?

Tubbs takes in old and unwanted computers, cleans them up and wipes all the data from them, then installs the free operating system called Linux Mint on them.

It is a time consuming process wiping data from these computers and for years Chris was doing all of this on his own while raising his sons.

How did I get involved?

I attended a networking session at The Azur in Hastings that had been arranged by a long time friend, Lord Brett McLean who was an ambassador for The Azur.

I brought over some computers I had collected from customers, practically filled my car with them and then saw his operation. In a 2 bedroom house in a poor region of Eastbourne, he had computers in every room and you couldn’t see daylight out the windows.

I just had to do something, so I started taking desktops away, wiping them and installing Linux on them. There was a more urgent need for laptops, I switched to wiping and installing Laptops instead.

My small car became a ferry of recycling laptops and desktops. I brought over 32 laptops one week and had 23 working. I was making a difference to the lives of others, but it was severely affecting my mental health as I turned my bedroom into a repair shop and gave up half my bed to these computers. My physical health was failing because I had two massive car crashes 2 years before so lifting and moving these computers around was a difficult task, especially as nothing is particularly light when it’s in bulk.

What happened?

As luck would have it, Tubbs got their CIC status and could afford to convert a small office into a workshop and could take nearly everything off my hands. This meant I could concentrate on my own mental and physical health and go over there once or twice a week to help install laptops and desktops.They now have 2 offices they can work from and are hoping to grow when they get more volunteers to help them.


If you imagine a small group of creatures running around helping people, it would be nice but I’m actually talking about a server that does this for you.

I built Tubbs a PXE server.

A PXE server is a an old PC that has Linux Mint installed a special way, it has software that delivers a DVD (because Linux Mint comes as a DVD image) over the network to computers that have been set up to receive it in a mode called PXE boot.

Booting from DVD is a very slow process, booting from USB is faster, but PXE booting is the fastest way to get an operating system onto a computer.

So getting the operating system onto the machine means it can be wiping the data quicker, and it can be installing quicker. Not only that, but a room full of computers can be wiping and installing quicker.

What does Tubbs need?

More than anything, Tubbs needs volunteers.

  • Drivers to deliver installed computers to vulnerable families.
  • People to sort the incoming computers.
  • People to repair broken computers.
  • People to prepare computers for wiping.
  • People to run simple tests through the installed computers (like does sound work, does the camera work, etc)

They need working computers, such as desktops and laptops, tablets and phones. Keyboards and mice are also taken.

Please give printers to other charities.

If you have anything with broken screens or you know doesn’t work, please leave out by your bins as East Sussex County Council have recycling facilities for broken computers and accessories in their Lewes recycling facility.

Want to help a worthwhile cause?

Contact them via the website here.

What if I'm not on benefits?

Tubbs have a service for people who have limited income that can afford to buy a reduced price computer from them, contact them on their website above.

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