Raequan Deal and Douglas Evans work on deconstructing some home electronics.

by Sue Ann Rybak

Recycling that broken cell phone, outdated computer or video game not only helps the environment but  could have a profound impact on a child or adult’s life. Green in Chestnut Hill (GrinCH) invites the community to “bring anything with a plug” to Norwood-Fontbonne Academy, 8891 Germantown Ave. on Saturday, Sept. 22 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

PAR (People Advancing Reintegration)-Recycle Works, a local nonprofit recycler that offers transitional employment to men and women who are returning from prison.

Maurice Jones, operational manager at PAR-Recycle Works, said the nonprofit provides secure data destruction by wiping hard drives and dismantling the parts.

“By recycling your electronics with PAR, you are not only helping the environment but providing on-the-job training and employment to men and women returning to the community from prison,” he said. “All the profits made from recycling go towards generating sustainable employment.”

On a recent visit to the nonprofit, Linda Rauscher from GrinCH learned that the majority of PAR’s profits come from the aluminum and gold in the motherboard and the plastic fans in the CPU’s (Central Processing Unit).

Laura Ford, treasure at PAR-Recycle, said it is very hard for ex-offenders to find steady, full-time employment. She said thousands of people return from prison to the community every day.

“Our mission is two-fold: to help former offenders restore their lives by providing employment and resources and helping the planet Earth by keeping toxic waste out of landfills,” she said.

She added that the nonprofit works with the Philadelphia Children’s Foundation, a nonprofit agency that provides Internet-ready computers in classrooms.

Last week the Local published an article about Philadelphia Children’s Foundation donating 110 computers to Henry H. Houston Elementary School in Mt. Airy.

Ford said by donating outdated or defective electronic, residents are helping to end the cycle of poverty by providing jobs to community members, helping to create a safer and healthier environment by keeping toxic substances out of landfills, and saving energy and resources by providing parts for refurbished computers that will be used in Philadelphia public elementary schools such as J.S. Jenks, C.W. Henry and Houston.

A former employee at PAR-Recycle, who now has full-time permanent employment at another company, said in an earlier interview with the Local, that most people “look at this and think it’s trash, but it’s still valuable.”

“This job is a chance for me to give something back to the community by helping the environment,” he said. “They are providing us with opportunities to make a difference. A lot of jobs don’t want to hire you because you did something wrong. Hopefully, being incarcerated makes you realize your mistakes. PAR gives people an opportunity to be better than you were before.”

He added that he is proud to be part of an organization that is working with other organizations such as Weaver’s Way Environment Committee, who give grants to local gardens, schools and community groups, and GrinCH, who support Green Warrior Student Grants, to have a positive impact on a child’s life.

Since recycling takes time and effort, a side from your generous donations, the following fees will be collected: Batteries are $1 a pound. Flatscreens and microwaves are $5. Air conditioners, dehumidifies and air purifiers are $15. Older CRT TVs and monitors range from $30-$65. These fees go directly to PAR for the work they provide.

Sue Ann can be reached at 215-248-8804 or sueann@chestnuthilllocal.com