Executive Director Mark Hassemer shaking hands with James Kravek.

Executive Director Mark Hassemer shaking hands with James Kravec, AMVAC founder.

Twenty-six years in the recycling business recently came to an end with great hope and a few tears.

In early May, American Military Veterans Assistance Corporation (AMVAC) took possession of ACT’s recycling program, formerly called ACT Works.

“We are thrilled to pass the business along to another agency whose mission aligns with ours,” Director of ACT Career Services Jessica Mahon said.

AMVAC is a non-profit organization created, directed, and run by veterans. They operate two facilities in St. Louis, MO and Alton, IL. (See http://www.amvacstl.com)

Veterans work to recycle or properly dispose of computers, computer components, laptops, microwaves, and other electronics. They say, “if it plugs into a wall our veterans can recycle it.” Now they can add the recycling of VHS tapes and other media to their list of recyclables they keep out of the landfill.

James Kravec, two-time Iraq War Veteran, founded the agency in 2011 with $10,000 from his military pension and a burning desire to assist returning veterans re-enter the workforce. He knows what it’s like to come home and struggle to find employment.

His vision is to mentor, employ, and find meaningful positions in society for veterans of all branches of the military. The AMVAC motto is: “Recycling is our process. Veteran employment is our objective.”

When AMVAC learned that ACT’s media materials were for sale, Kravec leaped at the opportunity.

ACT began recycling videocassette tapes in 1991. Soon after, the program experienced fame. When you say ACT, some people still immediately think recycling.

The recycling business made it possible for ACT to employ individuals with disabilities in its Affirmative Industry Program.

But two years ago, a Medicaid Waiver definition change forced ACT to change services. (https://actservices.org/big-exciting-changes-in-the-act-works-program) That meant the end of an era for ACT Works. Recycling had to go.

And so it has.

Now we can watch as an organization that provides valuable services to veterans thrives, knowing we took part in their success.

The deal has been sealed.

By early July all media material and recycling equipment will be in AMVAC’s possession. Soon, their system of accepting material and payment will be up and running. Until then, recycling services can still be purchased through ACT’s website; current and previous orders will continue to be honored.

“I am very pleased that AMVAC has acquired the recycling business we operated for over two decades. I hope it provides future employment for many veterans for years to come,” ACT Executive Director, Mark Hassemer, says.

For ACT, it’s the end of an era. But we like where this change is taking us.