Electronics Recycling Program Has Real Community Impact

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According to a recent informal poll, 84 percent of Earth911 readers said they would be more likely to recycle if it benefited a charitable cause. Are you more likely to donate your old electronics knowing it benefits your local job market?

If you are one of millions of Americans with old computers or electronics gathering dust in your home, there’s never been a better time to get rid of your stockpile – and for a good cause.

Photo: Shutterstock

Dell’s free computer recycling program, Dell Reconnect, makes it easier than ever to donate your old computer or electronics through its partnership with Goodwill Industries, whose primary focus is putting people back to work in their local communities. Because all profits from the Dell Reconnect program go directly to Goodwill, you can make your donation knowing it’s good for the planet and your community.

In 2011, Goodwill provided employment training, services, support and resources to over 4.2 million people.

As a non-profit, Goodwill works to assist those with disabilities and disadvantages earn a living and improve their lives through employment and orchestrate educational opportunities, counseling and other resources.

This was a first-hand experience for Goodwill employee Robbie McKolanis, who oversees the Dell Reconnect program at Goodwill of North Central, Penn.

McKolanis started out in his local Goodwill’s school-to-work transition program, Goodwill Works, and was hired by Goodwill after he graduated high school in 2007. Despite struggling with communication challenges with his speech and extreme shyness, his hard work as part of the production team at the Retail Processing Center in Falls Creek got him noticed, and once the Dell Reconnect program started, he was a tapped to apply his skills in a new direction.

Now responsible for all aspects of sorting, weighing and tracking electronics for more than 30 Goodwill locations, McKolanis has come into his own. He is now well known for having great interaction and communication with his co-workers and community, and can attest to the benefits Goodwill’s programs can provide for education and job advancement.

“It took me a while to learn and get used to everyone,” said McKolanis, adding that now, “It’s exciting talking to people and convincing them, ‘don’t be shy!’”

Having come full circle, McKolanis now mentors others participating in Goodwill Works and provides information to visiting guests.

“As Robbie has grown as an employee and taken on the additional responsibilities of the Dell Reconnect program, his potential for opportunities within the employment sector have increased tremendously, “ said Jason Marshall, executive VP of workforce development and retail services for Goodwill of North Central, Penn.

“This partnership with Dell has allowed for Robbie to find his voice and provided another opportunity for us to witness the power of work.”

The power of work is invaluable to those receiving assistance from Goodwill. In 2011, Goodwill helped place more than 23,000 people in need of employment at Goodwill locations, and 189,000 more were placed in jobs within their communities – including tens of thousands of veterans – a new demographic of people facing unique employment challenges.

In 2012, Goodwill expanded its effort to serve post- 9/11 veterans by rolling out Operation: GoodJobs, a program designed specifically for returning military servicemen and women and their families. In addition to job training and placement, the program offers transition assistance programs to help vets re-acclimate to civilian life and individual development plans to assess and assist with personal needs.

Since 2004, Dell Reconnect has diverted more than 250 million pounds of e-waste from landfills. With more than 2,000 participating Goodwill locations throughout the U.S. and Canada the program allows you to simply drop off used computer electronics of any brand and in any condition for free. The trained staff at your local Goodwill will determine whether each item should be refurbished and resold or responsibly recycled.

Editor’s Note: Earth911 partners with many industries, manufacturers and organizations to support its Recycling Directory, the largest in the nation, which is provided to consumers at no cost. Dell is one of these partners.

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