When old computers, cell phones and other unwanted gadgets aren’t properly recycled, they just end up in our landfills. According to DoSomething.org, this so-called “e-waste” takes up only two percent of space in America’s landfills — but it accounts for a whopping 70 percent of overall toxic waste.
Which is exactly why we need companies such as MHD Enterprises, an Austin, Texas-based electronics recycling company that re-purposes unwanted tech gear. But this eco-friendly, multi-million dollar company does more than simply look out for the environment. It has another important social agenda as well: Giving a second chance to people that most employers probably wouldn’t even consider hiring.
As Fast Company reports, nearly 70 percent of the staff at MHD are recovering drug or alcohol addicts.
So who’s at the helm of this company with unusual hiring practices? The founder and CEO of this thriving operation is Michael Dadashi, a former heroin addict himself.
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According to the publication, Dadashi started his e-waste company to support his addictions (he says he was a “full-blown heroin addict” by the time he was only 18 years old). But in 2009, after he nearly killed himself while overdosing behind the wheel, he had a turning point in his life and decided that he needed to get clean. Once he found himself back on track, Dadashi hired employees for MHD from a rehab center where he was also serving as a sponsor.
“When I had this spiritual awakening, the number one thing that was taught to me was to give back to others,” Dadashi says in the video below. “I started to live a life of purpose, I started giving back to the community. That enabled me to have internal success.”
Along with his own personal growth, his company has also found success  since its founding in 2007. In 2012, the magazine Inc. named MHD the 28th fastest-growing company in America. Dadashi has also been recognized by Austin Green Business Leaders, plus he’s been nominated for CEO of the Year by the 2014 CEO World Awards.
“We have a unity here that’s unlike any other company,” he continues. “We have true gratitude and true loyalty to each other because we all come from the same walks of life.”