Haven Recycle is a social enterprise that reuses or recycles discarded electronic items in a sustainable way and in the process provides stable and inclusive employment for disabled people within Glasgow. They have been established for around 10 years and are a division of Rehab Enterprises, Ireland's largest employer of people with disabilities and disadvantages. They are a "supported" business, which means they receive funding and grants from the Scottish government in return for giving fruitful employment and development to disabled adults. Haven Recycle serves both corporate customers and public bodies, which are looking for environmentally friendly options to dispose of un-required electronic and Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) devices. They offer services such as secure data destruction, reuse and recycle through asset recovery, and resale to both corporate and private customers.
WEEE recycling is a service whereby Haven will reuse or recycle anything with a plug or a battery, including monitors, computers, white goods, and mobile phones. Anything that cannot be reused is broken down into components and passed to selected downstream suppliers who share their commitment to zero landfill.
However, their main focus is on the asset recovery service they provide. According to Sharon Martin, their ethos is:
“that reusing is preferable to recycling and recycling is preferable to scrapping to landfill."
Through asset recovery, equipment can be refurbished for reuse, resale, or used as charitable donations. They can also be dismantled with internal components then being reclaimed for use elsewhere by being re-marketed to proven suppliers with similar ethical contracts.
Glasgow Caledonian University
Haven Recycle's innovation is its business model—based on provision of a bundle of Information Technology (IT) disposal and data management recycling services, which are processed by a team of 30 employees, 80% of whom are disabled or disadvantaged adults. The plant opened 9 years ago as part of Haven Products Ltd, which is part of Momentum Scotland and ultimately under the umbrella of the Rehab Ireland Group. Momentum Scotland is one of the largest companies in the UK that focuses on preparing and finding employment for disabled and disadvantaged adults.
Haven Recycle attracts customers from private businesses, public bodies, and also the third sector. Amongst its main customers is National Health Service (NHS) Greater Glasgow and Clyde, the largest NHS Board in Scotland. They collect unused, unwanted electrical items, test them, wipe any data securely, refurbish them, and the sell them on. However, as they are a non-profit social enterprise, all money coming back in to the company helps, along with the Scottish government grants, to support, retain, and advance the personal growth and well-being of employees within the plant. Haven strives to equip its staff with the necessary tools and employability skills to help them move on to full-time mainstream employments.
Given the ubiquitous nature of IT and electronics in the workplace, many businesses are looking to play their part in protecting the environment and fulfilling their corporate social responsibility (CSR) role in society. Haven Recycle offers a service that not only reuses and recycles their WEEE waste, but provides on-the-job training, employment, and advancement to those traditionally excluded from the labor market. The comprehensive range of services offered all comply with the WEEE directive, which was set out by the European Community (EC) in 2002 to help address the environmental impacts of unwanted electronic devices. Haven also adheres to all environmental, data protection, and safety legislation, which includes secure transport and logistics, secure data destruction, asset recovery, and WEEE recycling. The secure transport and logistics services allows for sensitive data and equipment to be uplifted from organizations and moved to Haven's premises, ensuring a secure chain of custody.
Haven Recycle has a disk crushing facility that makes any data retrieval impossible, and they also offer data shredding when data wiping is not appropriate. This service physically puts electronics though a shredder that produces particles of 10 mm or smaller, which are then sold to other recycling centers.
The inspiration for Haven Recycling lay with the success of the parent company, which operates in Ireland. Haven is part of the Momentum and the Rehab Group, which is a not-for-profit organization that provides care and training for disabled and socially excluded individuals across the UK. Haven Recycle opened in 2010 as a result of great success in Ireland. Although it operates as a commercial business, Haven is also a social enterprise. Haven is unique in that its business model provides employment for disadvantaged and disabled individuals.
Sharon Martin, who is the current site operations manager, revealed that much of the work completed at Haven Recycle is inspired by the employees. She described the staff as being “one big family.” After success in electronic recycling in Ireland, Haven decided to bring it to Scotland and open another umbrella of the company.
Essentially the inspiration is provided by the staff employed by Haven. This is highlighted in the company’s mission statement:
“Our mission statement is to provide meaningful and sustainable employment to disabled and disadvantaged adults.”
The company has substantial environmental and social impact. Impact on the environment is due to Haven’s contribution to the circular economy and associated commitment to be a "zero to landfill" organization. Furthermore, the company has an impact on the community too. As highlighted during the interview, the company sometimes gets contacted and asked to help people who otherwise might not be able to buy a laptop, for example, and they provide them with a functioning product at a very low cost. It was explained that a child—who could potentially be a genius!—was in need of a laptop, and they provided the child with a laptop. This is how the company has an effect on the community as well.
Sharon’s role as Site Operations Manager involves creating a business plan. The organization operates as a "supported business," meaning they are a registered charity but also generate profit. The company budget last year was around £400,000, made up of commercial sales and donations from government and other bodies. This budget is then spent creating employment and empowering disadvantaged and disabled people, which is the main purpose of the business. Haven Recycle also acts as a good example of corporate social responsibility (CSR) for other companies, as they can highlight how they are sustainably recycling their goods.
It is unfortunately often the case that disabled or disadvantaged individuals find it difficult to find employment. Haven Recycling helps many of these people get their foot into the workplace, with a huge 80% of their workforce being disabled or disadvantaged. They also encourage the employees to move on in the mainstream world of work to allow other individuals the chance to get on the employment ladder. Most businesses hiring want someone with skills and work experience, which is something Haven provides.
During the interview process it was made clear that these people come to the organization very shy and introverted, but as a result of working in an inclusive environment which is described as a “family,” they begin to open up and really enjoy going to work. The company is impacting the employees’ work lives but also their personal lives. Furthermore, the company makes a point of giving opportunities to their employees in regard to the tasks they perform. Even though at first sight somebody might look unable to perform a task, they are given the opportunity to try and see if they can perform it and further develop their skills if they want to. Haven Recycle are keen to develop their employees to reach their full potential.
The business also benefits other business. By choosing to recycle with Haven, other business gain an advantage as they know that materials destined for landfill are being recycled and reused in an efficient and environmentally friendly way. This is due to the fact Haven operates a "zero to landfill" policy. Companies that partner with Haven can include this as part of their corporate social responsibility efforts, which also benefits Haven as a potential source of advertisement.
When interviewing Sharon, we highlighted some of the UN Sustainable Development Goals that we thought the company contributed to the most. She agreed with the four that we chose: Decent Work and Economic Growth, Sustainable Cities and Communities, Responsible Consumption and Production, and Climate Action.
Sharon Martin, Site Operations Manager
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Glasgow, Glasgow, GB
Business Website: http://havenrecycle.co.uk/
Year Founded: 9
Number of Employees: 11 to 50
Haven Recycle (HR) is in the business of recycling and up-cycling discarded electronic goods. The organization contributes to environmental and social sustainability by operating a zero-to-landfill policy and providing stable employment to disabled and disadvantaged individuals.