We recently shared some exciting news—we joined 6 other social enterprise e-waste recyclers to created Impact Recyclers.
As a social enterprise focused on job-creation for adults facing barriers to employment, we constantly ask how we will continue to grow and scale to increase our impact. One of the main barriers to supporting large corporations was that we don’t have a large footprint. We are proud of our Twin Cities roots, but unfortunately we didn’t have much to offer for companies with locations nationwide. Well, now we do!
Impact Recyclers is the largest national network of certified social enterprise e-waste recyclers. Members come from across the US, including Blue Star Recyclers (Colorado Springs & Denver, CO), Isidore Recycling (Los Angeles, CA), Merit Partners (Stockton, CA), RecycleForce (Indianapolis, IN), ReWorx (Marietta, GA), Stanley eWaste (New York, NY), and of course us- Tech Dump. We all share the mission of job creation through socially-responsible, industry-standard e-waste recycling.
These social enterprise businesses share a common purpose: we recycle, refurbish, and resell electronic waste to create jobs for people who would otherwise struggle to enter the workforce. Electronics waste recycling is a $20 billion industry with the potential to employ thousands, while reducing negative environmental impact of waste.
In 2014, Impact Recyclers’ members generated $12.5 million in revenues and processed a combined 25 million pounds of e-waste, protecting landfills from harmful pollutants and preventing export of waste for irresponsible disposal. These businesses are well established – on average they have been in operation for five years, they perform to industry standards, (R2 or eStewards certification) and represent non-profit and for-profit business models.
The conversations started for this exciting development in April 2014, when a few of these companies came together informally at the Social Enterprise Alliance Summit and were shocked by their likeness. REDF , based in California, joined the efforts, given their focus on investing capital and expertise in mission-driven organizations that create jobs and employment opportunities for people facing the greatest barriers to work. And now, seven companies are creating a national network called Impact Recyclers to grow our business opportunities and create more jobs.
What’s really exciting is that all these organizations hire people who want to work, but have the hardest time getting jobs as a core part of their mission. In 2014, Impact Recyclers employed 223 people across five states. We all create jobs from junk, and now we can provide electronics recycling services from California to New York, and in between.
This excitement reminds us of the African Proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” We are a proud co-founder of Impact Recyclers and are excited to share how we use this key partnership to scale and go farther together!