RECYCLING: More than a Recycler

From the Pacific Northwest to Florida, The SemiCycle Foundation, Austin, Texas, and its partners are taking a proactive approach to recycling while serving communities and businesses in the electronics industry.

With more than 450 recycling partners across the country, the non-profit Foundation collects and recycles plastic and packaging material used in the surface mount technology, electronics and semi-conductor industries. Because the organization provides full collection, pickup and customized containers that protect materials and are staged at necessary points in production lines, businesses have reduced solid waste disposal costs, and are able to avoid production interruptions and encourage employee participation.

For example, IBM's Rochester facility donates many of its plastic trays and reels used to ship semiconductors to their assembly lines to the Foundation.

To date, SemiCycle's efforts have diverted more than 11 million pounds, or 1.1 million cubic feet of plastic from landfills in the United States.

Customer service is key to Foundation partnerships. Its representatives coordinate all aspects of the recycling program including timely container delivery, employee training, material transport, quantifying materials diverted from landfills and managing warehouse and inventory costs.

The Foundation also provides businesses potential tax deductions. It donates money made from the sale of the recyclables to local charities dedicated to children or environmental quality issues. Local charities are chosen based on the recycling partners' recommendations. Donations typically are less than $10,000 per charity.

San Francisco Bay Area students recently benefited from such a donation. Using SemiCycle funds, more than 70 students attended educational programs sponsored by the Save San Francisco Bay Association, which works to restore and protect the Bay and the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta Estuary. This charity was recommended to the Foundation by Sanmina, an electronics assembly contract manufacturer, located in San Jose, Calif.

Likewise, IBM recently recommended a gift to the Quarry Hill Nature Center, Rochester, Minn., which operates with non-governmental support and is visited by 25,000 students annually.

Other organizations that have benefited include several Ronald McDonald Houses across the country; the Children's Hospital Foundation in San Diego; All Childrens Hospital, St. Petersburg, Fla.; and the Children's Discovery Museum in Augusta, Maine. The Foundation made donations to 45 service organizations in 1998, a number that is expected to increase in 1999.

For more information about The SemiCycle Foundation, call toll-free (800) 580-7634. Website: