KQED Public Radio features Merit ePartners and its employees in California Report

Merit ePartners achieves e-Stewards Certification

Merit ePartners Achieves e-Stewards Certification

Attains the gold standard for globally responsible management of electronic waste

Stockton, California. July 24, 2013. The Basel Action Network (BAN), a non-profit organization focused on eliminating irresponsible trade of toxic waste, announced today that Stockton, California’s Merit ePartners has achieved e-Stewards® certification. eStewards recyclers are audited by third-party certifying bodies to ensure the highest standards of social and environmental protections.

In the U.S., few laws exist to ensure that the recycling of toxic electronic waste (ewaste) is done responsibly. e-Stewards recyclers demonstrate to third-party auditors that their workers are protected from workplace emissions, toxic e-waste does not end up in local landfills or incinerators, no labor in prisons is used, and hidden, private data in the equipment is protected and destroyed.

“By achieving e-Stewards certification, Merit ePartners joins an elite group of recyclers that have successfully completed rigorous independent audits to verify conformance with the highest standard for responsible e-waste recycling,” said Jim Puckett, executive director of BAN. “Only certified e-Stewards recyclers ensure customers that their hazardous electronic waste is not exported to developing countries and will be recycled in accordance with the most secure practices in the world.”

Merit Partners, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit social enterprise, employs past offenders at a fair market wage in a business setting dedicated exclusively to helping them successfully transition from an institution to life on the outside. Merit ePartners processes corporate e-waste for reuse and recycle as a means to employ and train its 18 to 25-year-old employees in jobs that demand personal responsibility, teamwork and accountability.

“Merit is very proud of its e-Stewards certification,” says Tom Gammon, CEO of Merit ePartners. “The sense of pride, accomplishment and validation felt by Merit’s young employees in earning certification is powerful.”

Program gives Chad wards better odds for second chance

View this story at Recordnet.com

STOCKTON – When Tarrance Turner is released from prison, he will already have real-world experience refurbishing computers.

Turner is a state ward working in a program run by Merit, a social enterprise, restoring computers and managing electronic waste at Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility southeast of Stockton.

“Here, we make minimum wage, and we pay taxes, too,” Turner, 22, addressed a group of community leaders touring the facility Thursday, organized by Helping Other People Expand (H.O.P.E.) to generate support for young inmates who are newly released from prison.

H.O.P.E. partners with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation to provide computer training, mentoring, gang prevention, job placement and other rehabilitative services.

“Everybody wants a safer Stockton,” said Yolanda Benavides, chief operating officer of the nonprofit organization. But too often, Benavides said, parolees turn back to criminal activities out of necessity.

“We want to stop that,” she said. “And all these guys are picking up skills. They’re becoming marketable.”

Chaderjian houses wards ages 18 to 23 who have some of the most violent criminal histories. California’s juvenile facilities are court-mandated to focus efforts on rehabilitating young wards.

Like the rest of his co-workers, Turner already has earned a high school diploma and is working toward an associate’s degree at the youth corrections facility.

Turner credited his job in speaking of his readiness to transition back into society.

“You gotta have a lot of integrity to do this job,” he told the touring group, which included local elected officials. “This right here is a vehicle for us.”

The group was taken to a culinary training program and certification classrooms for computer software, forklift operation and horticulture.

Agreement with The STRIDE Center and it’s Social Enterprise, ReliaTech is Announced

Merit ePartners is pleased to announce the finalization of an agreement between Merit and The STRIDE Center and it’s social enterprise, ReliaTech, to have Merit ePartners serve as ReliaTech’s designated e-waste agent.

Both Merit and ReliaTech are nonprofit social enterprises who, among other activities, increase job readiness by providing work experience. This partnership is to take advantage of each organization’s core competencies and focus each business on elements that are core to their respective missions.
ReliaTech has developed expertise in refurbishing computers and delivers low cost technology support and technology tools to underserved communities while providing jobs and paid internships to a growing number of Stride students and graduates.
Merit has obtained the highest certifications for environmental and social responsibility in the e-waste business, e-Stewards and R2:2013. Merit operates its electronic reclamation business in order to employ and train young adult offenders in all aspects of running a business. Their job-training program helps prepare young adults with the attitudes and skills to succeed upon release from incarceration.

 

This partnership will leverage each organization’s expertise to launch more careers and reduce more of the environmental impact of e-waste therefore increasing our effectiveness and impact on the community.