As this blog has mentioned before, there are numerous ways to recycle your electronic waste. One great example of such civic and corporate responsibility is the partnership between Dell Inc. based in Austin, Texas and Goodwill Industries of Houston. The two organizations have joined together to promote electronic recycling via Reconnect, a free citywide electronic recycling program.
Through the Reconnect program, residents can recycle old cell phones, video game equipment and computers at various drop-off points throughout the Greater-Houston metro area. The devices are then refurbished and sold in Computer Works stores at discounted prices or they are recycled. The city of Houston is following the trend set by fellow programs in Austin, San Antonio, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina, San Diego and San Francisco.
While the environmental benefits of such a program are obvious, there are economic advantages as well. Due to the need for labor to refurbish and sell the recycled electronics, the program has created new jobs in the community and filled 14 staff positions.
The Houston-program has high expectations. The goal for the Houston-area Reconnect program is to divert 1.5 million pounds of computers from landfills. The Austin Reconnect program is able to divert 250 tons a month and the Houston area is able to divert a substantially larger amount.
I can’t say enough good things about the partnership between Dell and Goodwill – not only are they working to help the environment through electronic recycling, the community through job creation, but they are also filling a need for those who are not able to purchase new computers by selling the devices at affordable prices. Technology is increasingly becoming a necessity rather than a luxury, so the more that programs like Reconnect can do to provide technology to those in need, the better.