Jean-Pierre Motte’s association - Synapse Picardie – not only recycles and reconditions computers for families with low incomes, but also helps people in difficulty get back into work.
In the Victorine-Autier district of Amiens, they are busy deleting programs, dismantling, and sorting. In an old red brick school, sixteen people on a back-to-work scheme recycle computers. Jean-Pierre Motte, the director and founder of Synapse Picardie, first came up with the idea in 2000. At the time his idea was to bridge the digital divide. 16 years later it marries the circular economy with a social project.
"When we set up the digital recycling workshop in 2015, we collected 20 tonnes of equipment. In 2016, it was 79 tonnes, and in 2017 we predict 150 tonnes," says Jean-Pierre Motte. Here, faulty photocopiers, printers and computers from government departments and business become valuable raw materials.
All this equipment lands in the hands of the employees of Synapse Insertion, which was set up by Synapse Picardie to help them back into work. Metals on one side, printed circuit boards, hard drives and cables on the other. Everything is sorted and sold to specialists, in order to " make our association economically viable, in addition to the collection service we offer businesses," explains Jean-Pierre Motte.
Introduce, train, equip
When Jean-Pierre Motte was developing his project in 2000, he wanted to make computers accessible to people on low incomes. He built it on three pillars: "introduce, train and equip". His project then came to fruition with the creation of the Synapse Picardie association. "Seeing all the unused computer equipment in local authority offices made me want to re-use it to equip people in need. So we have given a second life to more than 6,000 computers and equipped 3,500 families."
Moving forward the association set up a carpentry and upholstery workshop in 2015. With the same goal of giving a second life - but this time to furniture.
"The people who work in our workshops are on assisted contracts. They receive the day to day support of a technical supervisor. A careers counselor meets with them as often as four times a month," explains Jean-Pierre Motte. And it works! "55% of people who come to us leave to take up a training place or a job".
A job and a nursery place
But Jean-Pierre Motte hasn’t stopped there. "As the digital recycling workshop continues to grow, we will increase capacity from 100 m2 to 200 m2 and recruit 70 people on fixed-term reinsertion contracts," he said. The new 2,000 m2 site in Amiens is expected to be operational in 2019 and will house another brand new building.
"Lots of women who are single-parents find it difficult to work because there is no childcare available. Here, we’ll offer them a job and a place in our nursery," he reveals. Proof that the circular economy goes hand in hand with social innovation.
Find out more:- The fixers set out to repair the world
- How to recycle and decontaminate electronic and electrical waste
- [email protected]_gallet & @aserode avec Jean-Pierre Motte, lauréat #TalentsDesCités, parrainé par @radiofrance #Soirée remise des Prix au @Senat