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Indianapolis e-waste recycler, nonprofit receives EPA grant

Workers at RecycleForce in Indianapolis take apart electronics. (Alan Mbathi/IPB News)

An Indianapolis electronics recycler is one of 19 places around the country that will receive a federal grant to train people to work with hazardous waste. The $200,000 grant comes from the federal infrastructure law.

The nonprofit RecycleForce helps people recently released from prison and jail get certified to do a variety of jobs in the field. RecycleForce officials said the grant will help them train an additional 40 people to safely handle e-waste and other hazardous materials too.

By recycling things like computers, TVs and phones — workers at the nonprofit keep toxic heavy metals out of the landfill. Rob Smith directs RecycleForce's board and supervises its warehouse.

“We are saving the Earth. What we do every day we’re saving the Earth for the kids, children, teachers — whatever. We’re Earth savers," he said.

READ MORE: New facility for RecycleForce will help more residents

Tyra James has been training at RecycleForce for a little over a year and wears a mentor’s vest.

“I want to own my own business one day, so that’s what they’re helping me get ready for — to be a leader," she said.

EPA Deputy Administrator Janet McCabe said as the agency works to clean up more contaminated properties around the country, they’re going to need more people trained to do this work.

Though RecycleForce is the only location in Indiana to receive the EPA grant so far this year, the agency will give out a total of $30 million in grants over five years.

Contact reporter Rebecca at rthiele@iu.edu or follow her on Twitter at @beckythiele.

Indiana Environmental reporting is supported by the Environmental Resilience Institute, an Indiana University Grand Challenge project developing Indiana-specific projections and informed responses to problems of environmental change.

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