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After being paralyzed from the waist down, Russell Boseck of Villisca, Iowa, wasn’t sure he’d be able to work as a farmer again.

But, thanks to an electronic recycling partnership between Sodexo, a leader in quality of life services, and Easterseals, Boseck received a grant that lets him continue making a living doing the farm work he loves so much.

The grant is one of the benefits farmers like Boseck and the environment are reaping from the Sodexo-Easterseals partnership.  

Since 2007, Sodexo employees have collected used cell phones, laptops, digital cameras, video game consoles and printer cartridges from their jobs, homes and local communities. The items are shipped to recyclers and Sodexo donates the proceeds to the Easterseals Rural Solutions grant program.

This program gives grants to farmers with disabilities or other health conditions to purchase or modify farm equipment to address their mobility challenges. During the program’s 10 years, more than 78 farmers in 14 states have received grants from Sodexo totaling $80,000. Boseck used the money to build a wheelchair-accessible barn where he raises 600 calves a year.

“We are celebrating our 10th year of recycling technology to help farmers with special needs be independent and remain active in farming. Our funds support the purchase of assistive equipment and devices, which can make an empowering difference for a farmer with a physical impairment,” said Brenda Fuller, vice president and associate general counsel for Sodexo and program coordinator. “Behind the Sodexo-Easterseals recycling effort are Sodexo volunteers motivated by a desire to help agricultural workers who are at the heart of what we do in providing food services and improving quality of life. It all begins with the farmer,” Fuller said.

The program’s benefits are not limited to helping farmers – Sodexo also is able to reduce its carbon footprint by recycling the technology items used by the company’s employees daily. To date, the program has prevented 102 tons of electronics from entering the solid waste stream – the equivalent of removing 1,179 cars from the road per year or providing electricity to 721 households for one full year.

Published in the September 2016 Edition of American Recycler News