Technology is improving at a rapid pace, giving us many new options and exciting new devices to purchase. Unfortunately, this also means old electronics – or e-waste – accumulates at a rapid pace. Landfills are filling up fast with e-waste that can pose an environmental hazard when they’re not disposed of properly. That is why recycling old electronics is so important. Many old devices contain toxic substances that include lead, mercury, cadmium, beryllium, polyvinyl chloride and chromium. When e-waste is tossed into landfills, these chemicals leach into the soil, polluting the ground water as well as the air. Additionally, electronics are made of components that contain valuable raw materials. Recycling old devices saves energy. It also means fewer raw materials need to be drawn from nature to create new devices, saving energy, reducing pollution and creating fewer greenhouse gas emissions.
The good news? Local non-profit, Ransom Ministries, has a program that allows you to donate your electronics for little to no charge.
Ransom Ministries opened their doors in 2010 with a goal of empowering people to overcome poverty. After beginning ReProgram, the job readiness and life skills training program in 2015, founders Matt and Tara Armbruster connected a need in the local community to their programming: electronics recycling. In January of 2019, they developed Ransom Recycling, a social enterprise that provides eligible participants the opportunity to work an entry level position recycling donated electronics and earn a wage while getting the life skills and job training that will develop their job skills for future employment. Ransom Recycling accepts old, unwanted, broken or outdated electronics – anything with a cord – and teaches their participants/employees how to break down the electronics.
The non-profit then sells the steel, metal and other parts of the electronics for money that supports wages and job training for the participants. Ransom ReProgram participants earn $9 to $10 per hour while working through the Jobs for Life curriculum. Many of the participants have had past struggles with drugs or have been incarcerated, making job hunting a difficult process. Ransom Ministires helps them get back on their feet – all while helping the environment. In the first few months, Ransom Recycling has already processed 140,401 pounds or 70.2 tons of e-waste and helped four people get back on their feet and into well paying jobs.
PEP Member Company, Outokumpu Stainless USA, LLC has been involved with Ransom Recycle and is grateful to have this option for disposing of their unused, old electronics. “On the days that we send something to Ransom Ministries I go home feeling like I’ve done something good. It may be miniscule but I feel like its significant to have had a part in (hopefully) changing someone’s life for the better.” said Jodie Edwards, Environmental Engineer for Outokumpu. Ransom Recycling is in need of old electronics. Matt Armbruster says, “We take old or unwanted electronics. We need computer towers, laptops, servers, and really anything with a cord.” They will pick up large quantities and are willing to crush hard drives of computers so that personal information is protected. They also encourage local companies/orgainziations to host electronics recycling drives to spread awareness and collect even more electronics.
If you or you company is interested in dropping off electronics, Ransom Recycling is located at 320 South Craft Highway in Chickasaw. You may drop off Monday-Friday from 9am-3pm. For more information click here. Want to learn even more? Check out this recent feature from WKRG: