Tech Dump is turning e-waste into jobs
GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. – Computers, phones, and printers. Pretty much anything with a cord, Tech Dump will take it.
“A lot of it our team will disassemble down to the cord, board, plastic, steel, which at that point they’re all commodities,” said Amanda LaGrange, the CEO of Tech Dump, an electronic waste recycling service with three locations in the Twin Cities.
Everything dropped off here is either refurbished or recycled – no digital dumping or landfills – and this data dropoff is certified secure.
“Any hard drive that comes in here that we re-use has to be wiped and make sure that all the data’s off,” said Tom Becicka, who works at Tech Dump.
Since 2011, Tech Dump has processed 20 million pounds of e-waste. Fifteen percent is refurbished, while 85-percent is recycled. But, they don’t really look at it like that.
“It’s a triple bottom line impact of planet, profit, and people,” said LaGrange.
People, like Tom Becicka.
“Ah, I came here because I… I was having some problems finding a job,” said Becicka.
His resume’ had a 15-year gap; one caused in part by drugs and alcohol.
“I ended up homeless for awhile… it affected me a lot there,” said Becicka.
Tom got sober and started interviewing again, but Tech Dump was the only place to call him back.
It’s what they do; 75-percent of their 54-person staff has faced some sort of work barrier.
“Once someone has a felony on their record it becomes incredibly difficult for them to prove that they are not defined by their worst day. So, we’re giving individuals the opportunity to show all the things that they have to bring to an employer,” said LaGrange.
Tech Dump calls itself a stepping stone, a social enterprise recycler that teaches life skills. Most employees work here for just 9-12 months.
“We’re working to equip people with the confidence, the resume’ experience, and relevant skills to translate into their new job opportunity,” said LaGrange.
For Tom, it’s the second chance he needed.
“Personally, I’m getting my life back in order. I don’t have…. I got money!” said Becicka.
“Every individual that walks in has something to contribute. They have a role to play. We need them here every day to run our business,” said LaGrange.
A business wiping away old data, and giving its employees a new purpose.
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