The Saint of E-waste

Isidore Electronics Recycling
14 February 2017

Did you know that ‘Saint Isidore of Seville‘ is the Patron Saint of Computers and their users, programmers, repair men and the Internet as a whole… despite being born over a thousand years before the invention of the computer? (Yes, really.) Apparently, in the early 600s, the writer attempted to create the first ever record of all human knowledge up to that point – kind of like the Internet. And then the Catholic Church decreed it so in 1999.

Now the 21st century has a real life Isidore in the form of Kabira Stokes. Since 2011, the Californian has been on a mission to give a second chance to the things our society sees as disposable – ‘throwaway’ people and trash. So what’s this got to do with computers?

California has two huge problems; their prisons are overflowing and their landfills are overflowing. As we see more and more discarded devices like phones, TVs, computers, radios and printers wreaking havoc on our planet, e-waste recycling company is becoming the fastest-growing waste stream in the world. Recoverable and reusable components are mixing with toxic materials, leeching into soil and groundwater in landfills worldwide.

Stokes’ aptly-named Isidore troubleshoots both electronics and people’s lives by providing recycling services and job training and employment opportunities for Angelenos who face severe barriers to work – primarily formerly incarcerated people who emerge from the criminal justice systems and struggle on the outside. She wants to make sure people can get quality employment when they exit the prison gates.

As ex-inmates work to break down electronics into base parts – picking out the abundant and highly valuable plastics, metals and fibres – they are not just recovering precious value from e-waste, but themselves too.

This video from Mashable will help reshape what you think is trash :

Isidore Electronics Recycling is part of the LA Cleantech Incubator, a community of entrepreneurs dedicated to building a cleantech economy for Los Angeles. Video interview with Fred Walti, LACI President and CEO, coming soon. 

Submitted by

Lisa Goldapple, Editor, Atlas of the Future

Project leader

Kabira Stokes, Founder and CEO

Location

United States (Los Angeles)

Creative Commons License

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