At Enviro Girl’s final meeting as PTA President, the group voted to hold three paper drives in the next nine months. Paper drives! Enviro Girl was reminded of her childhood when kids would pedal bikes and drag Red Ryder wagons around the neighborhood collecting stacks of newspapers to raise money for their school. Times have changed, but recycling for cash is still a lucrative proposition.
Paper companies pay by the ton for recyclable paper products: cardboard, magazines, catalogs, newspapers, boxes. For the price of renting a dumpster (or, in her school’s case, getting a dumpster donated for free), an organization can collect paper and have it hauled to the nearest paper mill. This convenient fundraiser can involve a whole community, it’s a way to make money while encouraging recycling. Enviro Girl’s PTA projects a profit of $3,000-4,000 off of their three paper drives. That’s pretty good money for a totally passive style of fundraising. No one has to go door-to-door selling, no one is pressured to buy crap, participation is free and easy and feels good. It’s a win-win proposition because the paper company gets clean material to use in making recycled paper products.
Likewise, the local park raises money for its sports programs through recycling aluminum cans. They sell canned beer and soda at their concessions stand and use marked containers to collect the cans for recycling. Volunteers regularly sell the collected cans for cash. Community members are invited to use the recycling containers when they entertain–Enviro Girl has seen them at block parties and family reunions. Not only does this encourage recycling, it’s another passive way to help a good organization earn money.
Enviro Girl’s older son attends a school that makes money off of recycled printer cartridges and drink pouches. She also attends a church that collects canceled stamps for overseas missions. A local Girl Scout troop holds an annual rummage sale, selling people’s used goods to fund their activities and camp costs. Using recycling to raise money is environmentally friendly as it doesn’t require production of new materials but instead puts old materials to new use.
If your area doesn’t have an organization using recycling as a tool to earn cash, Enviro Girl suggests you get started. Doing so will encourage eco-friendly behavior that reduces the waste headed for landfills. It’s low-to-no cost and can involve participation from all kinds of people. Best of all, it’s easy and doesn’t involve selling stuff.