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Entrepreneur and environmentalist Eric Lundgren is a trailblazer for e-waste sustainability, but his latest venture is as much of a social endeavor as it is an environmental one.
“I’m a social entrepreneur. I care about how can we make the greatest positive impact in the world,” he says.
Lundgren, who was released from prison last spring for making and selling thousands of Microsoft repair discs, established BigBattery.com 15 months ago, and it’s since become the country’s largest supplier of surplus and re-certified batteries. The company is not only extending the life of electronics, but it also helps veterans and those who, like Lundgren, spent time in prison get a second chance at life as well.
“I believe the worst type of waste is human waste — a wasted life lived,” Lundgren explains. “We try to help people recycle their lives as well as recycling electronics.”
Teaching his employees essential vocational and life skills while also helping the world is a win-win for Lundgren — a triumph that’s particularly necessary during the current coronavirus crisis.
As businesses closed their doors and work-from-home mandates rolled in, Lundgren’s first thought was about keeping his workers and their families safe.
“As a social entrepreneur, as businesses were being shut down by the government, I was worried about my employees. There’s 64 employees in my warehouse that would have lost their jobs going on furlough, and that was just not acceptable to me.”
Lundgren’s first call to action was contacting Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s office to “pivot” the business model to keep BigBattery running.
He’s now using his business’s global supply chain to tackle the pandemic head-on: In the past 45 days, maintains Lundgren, the company has imported and donated tens of millions of masks, over 150,000 hazmat suits and 40 million nitro gloves. Lundgren and his team have also set up dozens of solar-powered trailers to keep hospitals up and running.
And when FedEx and DHL took a hit earlier in the pandemic, BigBattery leased Boeing 747s from Shenzhen to Los Angeles to ensure the proper delivery of essential supplies, including 8 million masks.
“Whatever our country needs, we have really just brought it all in,” Lundgren says.
“If I was a good businessman, I would be worth 70, 80 million dollars today. My companies make a lot of money. But we always try to put a majority of that money into something good.”
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