I never thought I'd start an electronics recycling company. That all changed in the mid-2000s, when I did a stint as an aide to (then) City Council President Eric Garcetti, where I focused on public safety and gang intervention and prevention. From Hollywood to Angelino Heights to Glassell Park, I saw the same unsettling truth: At-risk Angelinos and those exiting prison need jobs, and most often can't get them. I headed to graduate school to figure out how to address the problem, and a few years later left USC with a master’s degree in public policy and the realization that I didn’t want to spend years legislating for green jobs or better prison reentry programs. I just wanted to create them.
During this time, I also learned another hard truth: Electronic waste is California's fastest-growing waste stream. Last year, more than 200,000 tons of electronics were thrown away in the Golden State – putting toxic e-waste into our landfills and our environment. If not dealt with correctly, those electronics can end up overseas and processed with very low environmental and social standards. On top of that, it’s a tragic waste of our natural resources: e-waste contains valuable precious metals such as gold, copper, silver and palladium that can be recycled, sold, and used to create good jobs that do the right thing for the environment.
That's how Isidore Electronics Recycling was born. Our mission is to provide easy ways for people to recycle their electronics in an environmentally safe way (without putting your personal data at risk), and to create opportunities for the 120,000 people who exit California’s broken correctional system each year.
The equation is pretty simple: First, you bring your ancient Mac Classic or dusty old stereo to our facility in Downtown LA, where we make sure that your discarded electronics and their components end up in the right place. Our staff of previously incarcerated people and at-risk adults wipe the data, and then either refurbish them for reuse, or take them apart to be properly recycled. It's that simple. By recycling your electronics with Isidore, you're doing the right thing for the planet, for your community, and for Southern California.
Kabira Stokes, Founder & CEO