Happy Earth Day!
The whir of a power drill, the hum of the baler, the rivet of engines starting, the encompassing sound of pop music – those are the sounds of Desert Arc’s very own Recycling Division. Located in Indio, Desert Arc Recycling division is a sizable warehouse where clients and staff work together to, in the simplest of terms, recycle.
Desert Arc’s Recycling Division has two goals: to provide opportunities for people with disabilities, but also to provide recycling services to businesses and residential customers, which in turn helps the environment.
Desert Arc clients work alongside their instructors to learn valuable skills. Some clients accompany drivers and are drivers assistants. Desert Arc Recycling has four trucks, three box trucks and one truck and trailer, that drive around the Coachella Valley on regular “routes”, picking up cardboard, electronic waste, scrap metal, plastic and cans from several businesses. Drivers also make residential pickups. Clients help the drivers load the recyclables up onto the trucks and then offload the same materials when they get back to the warehouse. Other clients work strictly in the warehouse. They disassemble e-waste using power tools; sort plastic, glass, and aluminum containers; help staff bale cardboard, plastic, paper; and they also shred paper. These work skills no doubt serve them well, as well as provide a living.
The other side of Desert Arc Recycling Division, of course, is to also provide a “greener” option to residents and businesses by offering recycling services. Recycling has many benefits. It conserves natural resources like timber, water, and minerals, to name a few. Because recycling reduces the amount of new raw materials that are consumed, it also reduces the amount of pollution caused by the extraction of those materials, all the while saving energy as well. Most of our energy comes from the burning of fossil fuels, which release copious amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, which essentially “trap” heat in the earth’s atmosphere and fuel the rising temperatures. While manufacturing goods from recycled materials still uses energy, it is a considerable amount less than making products from raw materials. Less energy used means less greenhouse gases emitted in our atmosphere. Recycling thus reduces our carbon footprint.
Recycling also reduces the amount of waste that goes to landfills, and as a result the amount of pollution as a result of landfill leaching. Electronics can carry hazardous chemicals like lead, mercury, cadmium, and others. In a landfill, where waste is buried and covered over with soil, the aforementioned chemicals can “leak” into the surrounding environment.
Desert Arc Recycling’s impact is twofold. In the spirit of Earth Day, it helps the environment, but also provides opportunities and employs many of Desert Arc’s clients.