When it comes to e-waste recycling, don’t forget about green jobs.
That’s because recycling old electronics isn’t just about keeping used computers, TVs and cell phones out of landfills. Building up the e-waste recycling industry—which is typically more labor-intensive than traditional recycling—is also a way to create more jobs.
According to a 2011 report prepared by the Tellus Institute, if we increase the national recycling rate to 75% by 2030, we would not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 515 million metric tons but we would also create 1.5 million new jobs.
The closure of Doctors Medical Center in San Pablo, CA, is a perfect example of how increasing the amount of e-waste recycling opens more opportunities for green jobs. When the hospital decided to shut its doors permanently in 2015, Surplus Service, an award-winning San Francisco, CA Bay Area e-waste recycling and surplus electronics liquidation business, was one of the companies called upon to help liquidate its surplus equipment.
We hired an employee named Charles through the College of Alameda’s Atlas program to help with the liquidation project.
Before joining the project through the community college, Charles had been in a serious accident that nearly ended his life. He was left in a coma and put on life support. But with his mother by his side, he pulled out of the accident with some minor physical and mental disabilities.
Despite Charles’ offer to volunteer and get experience for free during the Doctors Medical Center project, we decided to hire him and pay him to help out, and we were impressed with his attitude and his work.
With the help of the Atlas program and despite incredible odds, Charles has been given a new lease on life and another career path—if he wants to pursue it further after he finishes the program.
“Your heart goes out to a guy like this who was one day healthy with a good job and the next fighting for his life,” said our president, Lou Ramondetta. “It makes you realize how quickly things can change through no fault of your own and how your health and a little help can be valuable resources.”
We are definitely interested in working with folks like Charles again, and we believe that the “triple bottom line” of people, planet and profit is essential to any organization’s success.