“We usually recycle 200 to 300 computers a year,” says Michael Anderson, President and CEO of 365 Technologies. “This year, with Windows 7 support ending, that number will be closer to 400 to 500. It’s important to ensure that we recycle it to keep electronic waste out of landfills.”
Almost five million pounds of recycling and counting
Mother Earth Recycling (MER) is one of the most credible recyclers in the business. Located in Winnipeg’s Point Douglas, it recycles about 500,000 pounds of electronic waste per year and refurbishes another 100,000 pounds or so. Its General Manager, Jessica Floresco, estimates it has recycled or refurbished 4.2 million pounds of electronics since it started in 2012.
“We pride ourselves on having a high diversion rate,” says Jessica, referring to the waste that is redirected from landfills. “Right now, we’re diverting waste at a rate of 98.8 per cent. Our staff, customers and board of directors are committed to creating a sustainable community and protecting our planet in whatever way we can.”
MER is also a certified depot of the Electronic Products Recycling Association (EPRA), a not for profit that operates recycling programs across Canada and “ensures that end-of-life electronics are handled in a safe, secure and environmentally sound manner.”
“I was most impressed that Mother Earth Recycling is a social enterprise that creates jobs and opportunities in our community,” says Michael. “I believe that partnering with MER is a great opportunity to make a positive impact.”
Indigenous employment opportunities, training
MER also provides employment opportunities and training to Indigenous Manitobans.
“We have seen many trainees go on to other workplaces in the community and do meaningful work. Some go back to school to finish grade 12, and some enroll in post-secondary education,” says Jessica. “We have worked with trainees who are exiting the correctional system, and some who are going through addiction treatment programs. And we help people get off social assistance, support their families, and not have to worry about the future, knowing they have the skills to be employed and succeed.”
In addition to electronics, Mother Earth Recycling diverts and recycles mattresses that would otherwise be headed to Manitoba landfills. Jessica says approximately 80,000 mattresses go into a Manitoba landfill every year, creating 6.4 million pounds of waste. When MER processes mattresses, it separates them into four primary materials: fabric, foam, metal and wood, and they eventually become carpet underlay, metal cans, craft material, and firewood.
“I came to MER for the opportunity to grow a business and expand an environmental program in our city,” says Jessica. “I didn’t expect to become so entrenched in Winnipeg’s remarkable collection of social-enterprise and community-development organizations; I feel fortunate to learn from their leaders and witness the great work that they’re doing.”
Recycle your electronics and mattresses at MER
MER doesn’t rely on funding to operate. “Being self-sufficient is the balance between people, planet, and prosperity,” says Jessica.
To really experience MER’s impact, it’s worth a visit to its facility at 771 Main Street. While you’re there, you can help reduce your ecological footprint. You can: