DCEO's Illinois Recycling Grants Program (IRGP) responded to that challenge in 2003 by expanding Illinois' recycling collection and processing infrastructure for electronics. The need for this expansion was further accelerated by a new state law that bans electronic items from Illinois landfills effective January 1, 2012.
The Illinois Recycling Grants Program helps communities, businesses, and not- for-profit organizations collect and process materials for recycling through both technical and financial assistance. In FY10, DCEO supported projects that diverted 287,310 tons of waste from landfills. One business that has benefited from this program is Vintage Tech Recyclers, Inc based in Romeoville, IL.
In 2005, Karrie Gibson was a computer science student who saw a need for an electronic recycling service. Gibson founded Vintage Tech Recyclers, Inc. (VTR) on the principles of integrity, good customer service and full service recycling as the guiding principles of her business plan. The business grew quickly, from picking up outdated computers and electronics one day a week, to becoming the largest residential recycling service provider in the Midwest. VTR has created over 70 jobs and has over 200 permanent collection sites across 12 Midwestern states.
In addition to several income streams from recycling, Gibson credits much of her business' success to Illinois Recycling Grants. Over the years, grants have provided funding for a security system, data security software, shredders, a security cage for on-site data security and vehicles for running several residential and commercial pick-up programs. VTR was first awarded an Illinois Recycling Grants Program for business expansion in 2005.
"Without the funding that DCEO has provided to VTR over the years, we would not have been able to offer our full service model at a low cost or free, which is the key to successful recycling programs. It has been proven that a majority of people will not recycle if the program is not free and convenient, and we built our programs with that in mind."
DCEO grants have allowed Gibson to not only build her business, but also to give back to the community. "After receiving our first grant, I made it our mission to give back to the municipalities in the State of Illinois by creating programs that their very low budgets could work under. Today we are able to offer all of our recycling programs for free to all municipalities in the state, because of the new electronics recycling law."
VTR was recently featured in Forbes Magazine's September issue as one of the top ten woman owned companies in the region. Download the article here http://bit.ly/p9hIaG . Find out more about the Illinois Recycling Grants Program.