Homeboy Recycling is providing a solution to two of California’s major problems – overflowing landfills and prisons.
The Los Angeles-based social enterprise provides on-the-job training and employment for men and women who face barriers to employment, mainly ex-inmates and former gang members. It doesn’t hire people with a history of fraud or identity theft.
Homeboy Recycling offers certified e-waste recycling, data destruction, and IT asset recovery services.
Employees and trainees at Homeboy Recycling break down electronics to recover precious value from e-waste.
Formerly Isidore Electronics Recycling, Homeboy Recycling was founded by Kabira Stokes in 2011 to provide jobs for those with criminal records.
Housed in a warehouse in downtown Los Angeles, around 15 employees at Homeboy Recycling — including nine who were previously imprisoned — go through the labour-intensive process of taking apart, refurbishing and shredding electronics that the business picks up from clients, including banks, hospitals and thrift stores.
The vast majority of items are taken apart and sold to processing companies that extract the raw materials. Processors, for example, contain gold.
The recycling business aims to increase sales by 40% and add at least six employees by the end of the year. The company is looking to establish more contracts with businesses that need to securely dispose of their e-waste.
Homeboy Recycling is part of Homeboy Industries. Homeboy Industries serves high-risk, formerly gang-involved men and women with a continuum of free services and programs, and operates several social enterprises that serve as job-training sites.
Each year over 10,000 former gang members from across Los Angeles come through Homeboy Industries’ doors in an effort to make a positive change.
Among the initiatives that Homeboy Industries are involved in is covering the tuition and supply costs for those who wish to enrol in solar panel installation training at East Los Angeles Skills Center.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. Follow Rosa on Twitter.