Published On: April 22, 2022Categories: Program Spotlights

Happy Earth Day 2022 To AT Reuse Programs!

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A new transport wheelchair in a heap of scrap metal garbage.
A transport wheelchair in scrap metal at a solid waste station in Vermont.

Did you know that most states and territories have a program supporting the reuse of durable medical equipment? This Earth Day, we are celebrating the role assistive technology (AT) Reuse Programs play to keep durable medical equipment out of scrap metal dumpsters, and with families and individuals who need it.

Especially during the time of COVID-19. 

Last year, over 68,000 gently-used devices were acquired through AT Reuse Programs across the nation. These devices saved individuals and families $28,430,000,  savings which in many cases don’t begin to touch the value of these wheelchairs, rollators, and shower benches (to name a few device types).

Durable medical equipment has always played a vital role in keeping older adults safe at home. But during the pandemic, staying safe took on a whole new meaning. Long-term care environments struggled with rolling lockdowns and tragic losses. Family members reached out looking for free or affordable equipment that could bring loved-ones home. For the reuse programs, closing their doors was not an option. When COVID-19 descended, many programs quickly developed new protocols, enforced rigorous sanitizing procedures, and found ways to provide zero-contact pickups and dropoffs. As a result, many older adults and others at risk of illness came home or stayed home with the support of safety and mobility equipment. 

If you have durable medical equipment you or a loved one is no longer using, consider donating to your state or territory reuse program. Keeping valuable durable medical equipment out of landfills and waste transfer stations makes good sense. It’s also about being a good neighbor. Over 90% of device recipients in 2021 reported they could not afford the equipment any other way.

A very long metal wheelchair ramp descends a grassy hill and turns a corner.
A massive ramp system was donated to Project CARAT, the reuse partner of the Kentucky AT Act Program. Four households benefitted, acquiring home access they would not otherwise have been able to afford.
A young white woman in a band uniform smiles holding her horn while seated outside at a stadium in her wheelchair; her legs are draped in a blanket.
A high school student can now keep up with the other band students thanks to a power-assist wheelchair from AT for Kansans Reuse!
A middle-aged Black woman smiles outside seated in her power scooter
Linda can now make it to her grocery store thanks to a scooter from the Washington AT Act Program’s reuse partner, Bridge Disability Ministries.
Three images of manual wheelchairs being delivered and set up in a large warehouse environment by Black women wearing masks.
The North Carolina AT Reuse Program provided manual wheelchairs and other devices for use at mass vaccination sites across the state.

Free or low-cost power wheelchairs, rollators, standers, pediatric equipment, shower chairs (and more!) help community members stay safe at home and active in their communities.

If you or someone you know is in need of a device or has gently-used equipment to donate, Find your State or Territory Device Reutilization Program!

Happy Earth Day from AT3 Center News and Tips!

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The AT3 Center, the Association of AT Act Programs (ATAP), and the Administration on Community Living (ACL) make no endorsement, representation, or warranty expressed or implied for any product, device, or information set forth in this blog. The AT3 Center, ATAP, and ACL have not examined, reviewed, or tested any product or device hereto referred.

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