By Brenda L. Holmes
PLAINFIELD — “Green is Good” was the popular phrase at the Plainfield ERI (Electronic Recyclers International) facility this week as officials announced that 150 new green jobs were coming to town.
The Association of Indiana Solid Waste Management Districts joined ERI as the company celebrated the completion of an expansion project at its Plainfield operation.
“These new green jobs are something to be celebrated,” said Bev Austin, a member of the Hendricks County Solid Waste Management Board.
Austin became a member of the board as part of her duties as an Avon Town Council member. She said she was more than happy to celebrate the success of ERI, a national recycler of electronics and e-waste.
“It is partnerships with companies like ERI that create more local jobs,” Austin said. “Thank you.”
Headquartered in Fresno, Calif., ERI was co-founded by John Shegerian. The company is licensed to demanufacture and recycle televisions, computer monitors, computers, and other types of electronic equipment.
The company has eight operations in seven states, including Indiana, California, Washington, Colorado, Massachusetts, Texas, and North Carolina.
Shegerian traveled to Indiana to make the announcement.
“The press release was a little light,” he said. “We’re hoping to bring 150 new green jobs to the people of Plainfield. It’s clearly a time where there are many seeking employment — especially in the growing green collar job market — and we are excited to be able to bring opportunities into the region.”
He said the goal of the company is to eventually have 350 employees working out of its Plainfield location.
“It’s simple math,” Shegerian said. “One ton of trash in a landfill equals one job. One ton of materials going into recycling equals seven jobs.”
In 2010, ERI moved its Indiana operation from Indianapolis to Plainfield, and began a one-and-a-half-year expansion project. The expansion brought the workforce from 20 to 145 today.
The project included the installation of a state-of-the-art shredder and a proprietary cathode-ray-tube (CRT) dry cleaning system. This equipment enables ERI to safely and effectively process electronic waste. This results in glass, metals, and plastics that can find new homes in products across the country and around the world.
Julie Rhodes, executive director for the Association of Indiana Sold Waste Management Districts, said, “We are pleased that the economic and environmental conditions in Indiana were ideal for ERI to grow their business and green jobs here in Indiana. The 70 solid waste districts across the state rely on our relationships with private sector partners like ERI to offer programs for the safe and responsible management of items that can take a would-be waste and convert it into value-added products.”
Joseph McLain from Congressman Todd Rokita’s office also spoke to the employees and officials on hand.
“The congressman sends his regrets that he could not be here today, but he did have me stop by his house to pick up a 36-inch television that is out in my car,” McLain said. “He wanted me to make sure to make that contribution for him to the facility.”
The workers laughed and said they would gladly help him retrieve the television for recycling.
“This company illustrates just how great our free economy works,” McLain added. “With all your hard work, you continue to make this republic even stronger.”