Income-Generating Business Collects & Recycles Used Electronics
Triple Bottom Line Positively Impacts Business, Community & Environment
- Business model: follow a business plan to
- Provide convenient electronics recycling services for individuals and businesses.
- Sell electronics for market pricing to generate revenue that supports job creation and training.
- Generate a profit that can support the IT training mission and contribute to overall organizational sustainability.
- Training, internships and jobs: provide closely-supervised work, internships and training opportunities for clients that result in better employment outcomes for graduates.
- Recycle and reuse of electronics from residents and businesses; solid waste reduction.
- Nothing illegally exported or landfilled.
- Donor data safe and secure.
- Earned income: Sale of equipment parts and raw materials (metals, plastics, glass), with proceeds returned to the parent organization, providing income to support job creation and training activities.
- Compliance with regulations from the CA Integrated Waste Management Board (CIAWMB) and CA Department of Toxic Substance Control.
- California law SB 20/50 provides guarantees minimum pricing for certified collectors of “covered electronic waste” (e.g. CRT devices).
- Contract with electronics recycler for SB 20/50 payments (for CRTs), and market pricing for electronics commodities.
- Written assurance from recycler that nothing is illegally exported or andfilled.
- Outreach to community residents and businesses to collect computers and peripherals for recycling or reuse.
- Sorting, testing and disassembly of electronics by staff, interns and trainees.
- Training students and interns to do technical assessments and disassembly.
- Staff and interns refurbish computers for resale [see Computer Re-Use Social Venture .]
- Older, low-value components sold to recyclers at market pricing.
- Goodwill partners with Dell, Inc., in Reconnect, a computer donation program for individual residents.
- Partnerships with other electronics recyclers.
For the organization
- Establishing appropriate board and fundraiser support and oversight for a social venture.
- Creating a strong business plan before program launch.
- Dedicating resources necessary to complete and evaluate market research.
- Raising funds for program development and launch; anticipating a ramp-up period during which the business will not turn a profit.
- Hire separate staff to develop and administer a program, without distracting from the organization’s primary mission.
- Following all California regulations governing the handling of electronic waste.
- Sourcing donations in a highly competitive market.
- Low margins for computer equipment when recycling (SB 20/50 minimum pricing dropped in 2008.)
- Electronics recycling is highly controversial because of the media coverage surrounding illegal exports to developing countries; to protect social venture’s brand, only partner with recyclers that can guarantee responsible recycling.
For the client
- Compliance with professional behavior and dress standards.
- Lack of confidence and/or work experience in the IT environment.
- Completion of technical training.
- High level of computer understanding (A+, MCDST, Network+ Certification.)
ELEMENTS OF SUCCESS
- Mission-relevance: business must be relevant to organization’s mission, stakeholder/funder, community and client needs.
- Double bottom-line: metrics to measure measuring overall financial and social costs and benefits.
- Baseline funding: subsidy from funders for business start-up.
- Market research: assessment of local markets and competition.
- Strong business plan: details products/services, market size, key financials, milestones, staff responsibilities.
- Minimum capabilities: Goodwill’s recycling operation runs 5 days/ week, 8.5 hours/day.
- Infrastructure: Warehouse, material handling equipment (e.g., forklift, pallet jack, pallet racking, etc.), storage equipment (e.g., pallets, gaylord cardboard boxes, etc.)
- Staff: Operations Manager (1 FTE), Assistant Operations Manager (1 FTE), staff processors (3 FTE), and 3-5 transitional employees.
- Marketing: advertisements on radio, in print media, and with direct mail.
- Government local.
- Other nonprofits.
- Local business.
Sources of Funding
- Other earned income.