Recycling business offers job opportunities

June 18, 2009 A northwest suburban mom started a small electronics recycling business that has given people with disabilities jobs.

Since October 2007, Recycling Avenue has sold over 1,500 items. It's a growing and successful business that is doing something good for both the environment and disabled community.

"We collect the recycles, the recyclable items and then we sell them, some of them on eBay," said Silvia Campone.

Recycling avenue was created by Campone.

"People donate any cell phones, laptops, digital cameras and cartridge," Campone said.

"When we clean those phones out, we wipe out the phone numbers and sell them on eBay," said Campone.

Campone started the business to help her son Gregory. He has cerebral palsy.

"When he left the school system in 2002 there was not a lot for him to do," said Campone.

The business is located at Avenues to Independence, a not-for-profit organization serving people with disabilities.

"They give us all this square footage and we service them," Campone said.

Recycling bins are located in 11 municipalities in both the north and northwest suburbs.

"We have an example of the bins we have at our municipalities, and we have a brochure and tax letter attached to the bins," said Campone.

With five employees, who work 12 hours a week, they send out an average of 90 boxes a month all over the world.

"We've been to Puerto Rico, we're sending a box today to Australia, we've been to Brazil, Japan and we've been in every state that has a pin on the map," said PJ Flaherty.

Employee PJ Flaherty says he is paid well and he really likes his job.

"I feel productive, feel like I'm contributing member of society," Flaherty said.

He knows this is the future.

"A lot of what we see, and lot of the cell phones, a lot of that technology, people are changing over very quickly 'cause technology is advancing so much," said Flaherty.

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