We Accept Scrap That Powers On
We put the scrap-that-powers-on into a solar-powered computer room and get it solving real-world problems such as doing digital computations to search for medicines that can help people suffering with cancer or HIV.
For us, TAP (Technology Applied to Philanthropy) refers to using scrap computers (and sometimes phones) for good.  In particular, we take computers that have no practical purpose anymore, and use them to do medical and scientific research.  Almost any computer that still has a working CPU, even if many of the other components make it unusable for normal use, will do.

Frequently Asked Questions



Do you accept donations or quality computers?

No, we do not accept money or computers that can be resold.  We accept only scrap that can be used for research purposes.


Do you charge me to take the scrap?

No, although we do ask that if it needs to be couriered to us, that you pay for the courier if you can afford it.  If you cannot afford the courier, we can review the equipment and decide if we can sponsor the scrap moved to us.  This depends on the weight (cost to ship) and potential research capabilities of the hardware.


Do you accept computers that do not work at all?

Yes, if they are relatively modern (no less than 5 years’ old).  We will try get them working just enough to do some research.  If we can’t get them working, we will pass them on to the scrap recyclers.


Do you get money for the research or scrap?

No, we get no money for doing the research and we get no money when we pass the scrap parts to the scrap recyclers.  In fact, it costs money to do the research (electricity) and to scrap the items (petrol to deliver the items).  This is entirely a philanthropic exercise.


Are you an NPO or company?

No, we are a group of volunteers informally accepting scrap and putting it to work.  (At present we are not looking for more volunteers.)


Can I get money from the scrap?

We do not offer money for the scrap.  We offer a free, philanthropic service (as volunteers) to put scrap to meaningful work.  If you are able to get money for the scrap elsewhere, we recommend you do so.


What do you do with the computer once it fails?

After some time, the scrap-that-powered-on no longer powers on.  We then store it, and when we have sufficient material to justify a trip to the scrap yard, we take it.  The scrap recycling centre we take it to does not give us money.  Although they are a business, unlike us, the cost of crushing equipment and recovering metals from it does not result in sufficient profit to pay meaningful amounts for scrap.


What do I get when I send you the scrap?

Because what you are doing is simply waste disposal, you don’t get any money, receipts, delivery documentation or certificates (and neither do we get any of these things).  You get the great feeling that your old scrap might one day help find a cure for cancer.  This is much more responsible than throwing it in the bin.




Do you take scrap from international locations?

No, we accept scrap computers from South Africa only.  We don’t currently have any plans for anything outside South Africa.


Where are your main areas?

We can generally collect or accept in: Durban, Paulpietersburg, Howick, Kloof, Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni, but it is possible to courier items from just about anywhere in South Africa.


What are the delivery or collection options?

Depending on the items and area, we can either collect, or you can courier to a nearby collection point.


Can I rather keep the scrap and put it to work on research myself?

Yes, that is the ideal.  However, not everyone has the time and energy to do this.  If you want to put an old PC to work, see https://foldingathome.org or https://www.worldcommunitygrid.org.


Can I just scrap it?

Yes, if it really cannot turn on at all and you think it is likely beyond all hope, google for an e-waste centre near you.  Some centres may charge you to collect or dispose of items.  If you can find a centre that will pay you to take the scrap, you should consider this, but be aware the transport cost may be more than the cash you will get for the item.  Here are some sample websites, which we have not verified in person:







Electronic recycling | Gauteng | Ez Electronic Recycling

eWaste Recycling - Dispose-IT South Africa

E-waste Management Systems | E-Waste Company | eWASA

Recycling of Electronic Waste and Scrap Catalytic Converters (astrecycling.co.za)




What type of scrap computers do you take?

Anything that isn’t older than 10 years, as long as it powers on.  If it is a new (less than 4 years’ old) but broken PC that is not worth repairing, we might consider taking such a PC that does not power on.


Does the hard disc have to be working?

No, we don’t need a hard disc as long as the PC has a USB port or memory card slot.


Do you need the cables?

No, you can include them, but if they are missing, we have plenty.


What do you do with the data on the hard disc if there is one?

One of the first things we do is erase the disc to eliminate the risk of any virus or trojan getting into our network.  If the computer you want to donate has sensitive data on the disc, and you are concerned about this, you can remove the disc before sending it to us.


Does the screen have to work?

No, if there is an external monitor port, we don’t need a working screen.  We do not accept CRT  monitors (those old, clunky big screens) unless it is part of a very large delivery that justifies us taking it to the scrap recyclers on your behalf.


Will you take new, working computers or computers in very good condition?

No.  If it is good enough to resell or to donate to a needy cause, we recommend you do that.  We want to take computers you would be too embarrassed to give to someone.


Do you refurbish computers?

No, we do the minimum to get the computer to do research processing, and leave it to do that work.  Eventually it fails entirely beyond all hope, and we scrap it for recycling at a nearby centre.


Do you take smartphones?

Yes, we can do research on older high-end smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy S4mini.  They need to have been “expensive in their time,” be less than 10 years old, run Android 4.4.2 or later and be mostly working (e.g., the screen can be badly cracked, but we need to be able to touch the screen and load the software).


Do you need the powerpacks with the laptops?

We prefer to have the power “bricks” that come with the laptops or phones, but they are not essential.  We have a lot of spares and can usually get things working well enough just to do the research.


Do you need the batteries?

No, we don’t need the laptop or phone batteries.  Where possible we remove them and recycle them, and run the hardware without batteries.  The research makes the systems very hot, which is a risk for old batteries.  Unless the system works only with a battery and won’t turn on without a battery, we don’t need it.  But if you send a device with a battery, we will send the battery for recycling.  (Note that not all batteries can be recycled in this country.)


Do you take old video cards?

Yes, we are able to use some of the older video cards.


Do you take old crypto bitcoin mining rigs?

We have never tried one, and we don’t do crypto, but would consider experimenting with an old rig to convert it to do research if one was being scrapped.  If it can run Linux and a video card driver, we can probably repurpose it for research before recycling it into scrap metal.


Do you take old mainframes and servers?

Generally, servers and mainframes use so much electricity that they are not ideal for research.  Desktops and laptops provide better research per watt.  However, we will evaluate the hardware and make a decision.




How does the research on scrap work?

There are special software programs that can examine simulations of chemicals.  What is needed is the powered-on, functioning motherboard (with memory and CPU) to get this done.  It doesn’t matter if the screen, hard disc, mouse or keyboard is missing or broken.


How does the research help?

The results from the computer simulations help researchers to find cures for diseases more easily.  Finding cures for diseases is often a lot of trial and error.  By doing simulations on scrapped computers, much of the manual trial and error is eliminated.


Can research be done on new computers?

Yes, everyone is encouraged to get involved and do research on their computers when their computer is not in use.  However, it requires some know-how to get it to work and, if incorrectly configured, can reduce the life of your system.  We, however, focus on using scrapped computers, squeezing the very last usefulness, that no one else wants, out of the hardware.


What technology do you use?

We use BOINC (https://boinc.berkeley.edu/) and/or FoldingAtHome (https://foldingathome.org/) and/or other software.




Who pays for the electricity?

The leader of the volunteers, aka “the tapchap,” paid for the solar panels and computer areas used.  He pays for electricity over and above that provided by the panels if required.


Can you power down during load shedding?

Yes, we set up the computers to shut down during power failures and they can usually power themselves back up.  We can turn them off manually when there is less electricity available, e.g., rainy days or grid constraints.


How much space and electricity are available?

We can currently house over 200 computers and smartphones.  Once we reach capacity, we remove the most inefficient computers and have them recycled.

Please click on the Contact button on the top right
to send your scrap equipment for philanthropic use