If your non-profit organization is tired of selling chocolate bars to meet its fundraising goals, why not consider hosting an e-waste charity recycling event? Whether you’re collecting money to support your group’s activities – or to do something positive for the community – there are benefits to partnering with Shift Recycling.
According to Michael Dittmar, Shift’s Generator Compliance Manager, his company typically coordinates as many as 75 recycling events annually. “Some groups like to do these events at the beginning of the year to try and capitalize on the fact that people may have replaced their electronics over the holidays. But spring tends to be the busiest time – particularly the week in April that leads up to Earth Day.”
As the point-person for Shift’s e-scrap recycling events, Dittmar is responsible for working out agreement terms and payment rates with such enthusiastic fundraisers as:
- youth sports teams,
- Scouts and Cadets,
- school groups, and
- community organizations like church groups and rotary clubs
“What we’re essentially doing,” he says, “is sharing a portion of the incentive we’re paid for recycling Ontario’s e-waste with these organizations. It’s a win-win situation, and it helps spread awareness about the importance of recycling.”
Turning Community E-Waste into Cash
So how does it work? Simple, says Dittmar. “The fundraising group markets the event, and there are no costs for delivering the material to Shift.”
Once your organization has reached out to Shift, scheduled an event, and secured a suitable location – typically a school, church, or community centre parking lot – arrangements can be made to have a Shift approved third-party transporter drop off a large roll-off bin.
“These dumpsters measure about 20 feet long, by 8 feet wide, by 8 feet tall,” says Dittmar – plenty of room to collect thousands of pounds of valuable scrap. “After the event, we arrange for the bin to be picked up again and brought to our processing facility.”
Shift sorts and weighs the collected e-waste – a process that usually takes about two weeks – then issues a cheque to your group based on the established rate per pound. Most groups earn an average of $1000 from a single event. And as far as this particular initiative is concerned, Dittmar adds, single event is best translated as single day – preferably one that falls on a weekend.
“What we’ve found with multiple-day collections is that you’re not really going to attract any more people than you would with a one-day event. It’s going to be the same people. They’re just going to spread themselves out over a number of donation days. And what can sometimes happen is that they put off donating because there’s no sense of urgency to get there today. Then they forget altogether.”
How Can My Group Get Involved?
Either way, Dittmar cautions, the key to success is promoting your event “early and often”. Shift can sometimes help with this by providing flyers for your group to distribute as part of their marketing efforts. But the main thing to keep in mind going in is that not everybody has used electronics just sitting around.
“Fundraising organizations need to keep reminding their communities that they’ll be having this event in the future. Because if somebody knows that – and they end up replacing a printer, TV, or computer over the next 3 – 6 months – they’ll be more likely to hold onto and donate their old item.”
Get the word out, says Dittmar, and people will come.