Thanks, in large part, to Buffington’s efforts, Skills has diverted over 20 tons of computer-related materials from area landfills. Through One Stop Communications, Buffington serves as a point of contact to the public, promoting recycling and collecting outdated and end-of -life computer equipment for Skills’ recycling program in Juniata County. The computers are then disassembled and shipped to various recyclers in PA.
Buffington’s efforts not only benefit the environment, they support people with disabilities. Donating computer-related materials to Skills’ vocational training and industrial services programs provides individuals with developmental disabilities with an opportunity to learn valuable employment (and pre-employment) skills in a supportive environment -- while earning a paycheck.
“Improving the quality of life for people with disabilities while protecting our environment is a major undertaking,” said Ernst. “Michael’s partnership with Skills is one example of the positive steps that have been taken in this direction.”
Skills began its computer recycling program in February, 2005. “Keeping computers out of landfills is a primary goal of the program,” said Ernst, “We felt compelled to acknowledge Michael’s hard work to that end. When a computer is buried in a landfill, there is a high risk of the toxic chemicals contained within it eventually leaching into the groundwater.”
The award criteria are: Community and public involvement; partnership and collaboration; effectiveness; and other specific considerations.
Founded in 1960, Skills is one of the oldest and largest private non-profit human service organizations in Central Pennsylvania serving people with disabilities. Skills employs 900 staff throughout 14 counties and support 1300 individuals.