For the past 5 years, recycler MRC Polymers Inc. has worked with a local non-profit agency to employ adults with developmental disabilities.
MRC and Spectrum Vocational Training Agency celebrated their economic partnership on June 19.
Spectrum operates vocational programs for adults, age 16 and older, with developmental challenges. The program serves more than 200 adults annually.
MRC, based in Chicago, employs about 60 adults from the Spectrum program. Employees ready DVD cases for recycling — removing paper inserts, discs and other components by hand — and are paid per part.
That paycheck is especially important.
There are “parents who didn't think their son would ever earn a paycheck,” said Jennifer Brown, marketing and business development manager at MRC.
The program gives adults with developmental disabilities the chance “to be able to work on something they feel good about, that they're passionate about. They feel like they're making a difference” she said, by phone.
Their enthusiasm spreads to MRC's 120 other employees.
“It's so great to see how passionate and excited they are to be working on this and that gets us really excited,” Brown said.
MRC recycles thermoplastics from post-industrial and post-consumer sources into engineering-grade and commodity thermoplastic compounds for manufacturing applications.
The company specializes in tricky feedstock like DVDS, CDs, car bumpers, advertising sign fronts and 5-gallon water jugs.
Spectrum is a division of Little Friends Inc., a non-profit based in Naperville, Ill., that operates schools, training and residential programs to serve children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities.