Atlantic Health System recently partnered with a local, environmentally friendly recycling company that gives young adults diagnosed with autism gainful employment and valuable job skills.
Green Vision Inc., based in Randolph, will now pick up medical equipment and other electronic waste from clinical engineering departments collected throughout Atlantic Health, such as used computer monitors, televisions, various pieces of medical equipment and other devices, at Morristown Medical Center.
Green Vision teaches adolescent students and adults with autism how to properly dismantle and recycle unwanted electronics, also known as e-waste.
Each year, Americans discard more than 400 million units of e-waste, with less than 12 percent being recycled.
Green Vision challenges its students and adults with tasks that allow them to use problem-solving skills while dismantling a wide variety of devices in meaningful, paying jobs. The company operates 99 percent landfill-free, with all recycled materials going to federally licensed facilities.
For Atlantic Health System, which has been locally and nationally recognized for environmental sustainability by organizations like Practice Green Health, the Commerce and Industry Association of New Jersey, and New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Green Vision presented an enhancement to its initiatives.
“Atlantic Health System believes building healthy communities begins at the most basic level – the environment – so we look for any opportunity to make health care more sustainable,” said Carolyn Brown-Dancy, director of environmental health and safety-sustainability. “Green Vision offered a unique way to help us continue to lead in health care sustainability.”
The company model not only works to instill pride and independence in the participants, providing them a means to earn money while learning transferable skills, but also offers an environmentally sustainable way for local residents and corporate partners to convert waste into reusable materials such as copper and aluminum.
With autism continuing to be the fastest-growing developmental disability in the United States, the partnership is the latest in Atlantic Health System’s initiatives to support the underserved and/or under-represented in its communities.
The partnership arose from the efforts of Atlantic Health team member Lucia Griffin, undergraduate medical education coordinator in the department of surgery at Morristown Medical Center. Griffin’s son CJ, who was diagnosed with autism, is an employee at Green Vision. She describes him as high-functioning enough to not qualify for most employment programs which target lower-functioning individuals with autism, but not able to enter the mainstream workforce.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that one in 59 children in the U.S. has an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). In 2018, the employment-population ratio – the proportion of the population that is employed – was 19.1 percent among those with a disability, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Atlantic Health last year recycled more than 7,000 lbs. of e-waste.