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Doing Good While Going Green

Yeshiva University Partners with HASC for Environmentally and Socially Responsible Electronic Waste Recycling

In line with its goals of environmental and financial sustainability, Yeshiva University recently partnered with eWorks Electronic Services, a program established by the HASC Center and AHRC, that provides  recycling, refurbishment and resale services of office technologies and consumer electronics by employing individuals with physical or developmental disabilities.

“This program is a financially viable and sustainable partnership for disposing of our electronic waste which is also beneficial to the Jewish and disabled community,” said Andrea Moore, sustainability manager at YU. “When we were considering our recycling options, eWorks added an element of social activism that furthers Yeshiva’s goals of bettering the community while maintaining high standards of environmental and financial responsibility.”

eWorks technicians collect and disassemble YU’s electronic waste, separating metals, plastics, rubber and glass. The recycled pieces are shipped out to be further processed at recycling plants. As a zero-landfill project, e-cycling responsibly recycles assets in compliance with local, state and federal regulations. “Metal and some of the other materials in these products have a high recyclable value,” said Moore. “For technology that can’t be fixed, they’re able to separate these components into pieces that can be used or recycled individually. Other technology they’re able to refurbish completely for resale.”

The partnership with eWorks is just one of many initiatives organized by the Office of Energy and Sustainability to integrate sustainability throughout the academics, operations and administration of YU. That includes tracking and working to decrease greenhouse emissions, creating programs that encourage public or shared transportation to the YU campuses, as well as student-oriented programming like the Eco Representative Program, a paid environmental leadership initiative for YU undergraduates that focuses on raising awareness of environmental issues and impacting student behavior, and YU Unplugged, an annual dorm competition that seeks to reduce YU’s electricity usage and promote awareness of energy conservation.

“The Torah Umadda philosophy of YU is a perfect complement to our mission, because what we’re doing is taking the electronic sophistication of today’s age—the madda—and together we are observing the Torah commandment of chesed [kindness],” said Rabbi Dr. Chaim Wakslak, clinical director of the HASC Center. “The electronic devices that are conveyed to our center are being used primarily to provide job opportunities for people who are intellectually challenged, which in turns gives them a sense of self-worth and a simchas hachayim [joy in life] which they may not otherwise achieve.”