In our country, there is a large build-up of electric and electronic waste that is seriously harmful both for the environment and public health. There are no laws that regulate work with this waste.
Motivated by caring for the environment and also by wanting to become a self-sustaining group, we have made the decision to work with electric and electronic materials, adding a new income-generating sector to our traditional work with second hand goods.
While we have much experience in recycling, we must be trained to learn all about this new type of work and therefore set ourselves apart from other business that are involved in this sector.
Gaining knowledge will help with the management of the project, with the hope of increasing our economic resources which support social work and contribute to caring for the natural environment.
We travel to homes and companies to collect electric and electronic waste and appliances following requests from our donors (public and private).
We meet with public bodies with the aim of learning more about the topic and, in some cases, aiming to gain support.
The Working Community wants to contribute ideas and take action in pursuit of a solution to the issue of pollution by this type of waste, creating alliances with the State and Society through responsible work.
We have set up a space in the community where we have started to work on recycling computers, monitors, televisions and different household appliances, which we sell on our premises.
Appliances that cannot be repaired are dismantled, and spare parts that can be used again are sorted in order to repair other appliances or to be sold. Anything that cannot be used again is sold as scrap metal.
We work responsibly, caring for the health of our workers and the environment. We provide an immediate response to our donors so that these materials are not dumped on public streets.
One companion is currently in charge of the workshop for recycling electronic appliances and also deals with small household appliances (coffee machines, blenders, juicers, food processers, etc.).
One companion works in the fridge-recycling workshop; another works in the workshop for electric stoves, ovens and microwaves.
In the case of washing machines, these are sent for repair to a technician who does not belong to the group, who charges for labour and uses spare parts that he removes from other washing machines that cannot be repaired.
Our collection trucks are used to collect these goods. There is currently no vehicle that only works on this project.
We are working with the Montevideo Municipality, which also helps with gaining the qualifications that allow us to continue moving forward with this project and reaching the planned objectives.
We also work with private and public companies, as well as receiving donations from the general public.
We first need to complete certain stages of the project before we are able to take on this type of commitment.
Stage one: recover and recycle objects, caring for the environment.
Logistics to allow us to receive quality, donated objects, collaborating with the government, companies, and the general public.
Collection using our trucks.
Human resources to start on a small scale.
Physical space, correct tools, database.
Dealing with increased demand.
Incorporating technological tools and machinery.
Obtaining firefighter qualifications.
Generating more jobs.
Achieve continued growth within this project.
Be a self-sustaining group.
Collaborate with others that promote the Business Responsibility Law.
We are a sort of collection centre for the general public, where people can leave waste to be responsibly dealt with in an environmentally conscious way up until its final destination.
We have set up a fridge-repair workshop.
We have another for repairing and dismantling computers.
We sort and repair household appliances.
When we cannot repair, we sort and sell as spare parts or scrap metal.
Recognition from donors, whether families or businesses, that use our collection service, knowing that their electric and electronic waste is being handed over to a responsible waste treatment service.
We are also very politically and socially engaged; through this work we promote one of Emmaus International’s key themes.
We are currently working from our premises, but in order to deal with increased demand and achieve our goals we need:
Appropriate infrastructure, improved tools and incorporation of machinery.
Firefighter qualification (achieving this qualification is necessary to get other permits that will enable the project to grow).
Training (we need to train our companions to work in recycling workshops as we are lacking, for example, a washing machine technician.
Obtain signed agreements from companies and state bodies.