Sedona and the Verde Valley are blessed to have numerous nonprofit organizations that do wonderful things every day to enhance our quality of life. There is an adage that says, “For profits provide programs to make money, nonprofits make money to provide programs.” So how are for profits and nonprofits different?
Nonprofits have a mission that benefits the greater good of the community, society or the world. A common misconception is that nonprofits cannot make a profit, this is not true, but the funds they do receive must be used in support of their mission. In order to survive nonprofit organizations, just like businesses must make sure that the organization’s revenues exceed their expenses. No person involved with the nonprofit owns shares of the corporation or interests in its property. The property and income of the nonprofit corporation are never distributed to any owners, but are recycled back into the nonprofit corporation’s public benefit mission and activities.
Our organization Sedona Recycles is a nonprofit but we are often mistakenly seen as a for profit business. This misunderstanding occurs because we operate a recycling facility and sell recyclable materials and in many ways our operation resembles other businesses that do business on a for profit basis. So the question is what exactly does a nonprofit recycling organization do and what sets us apart?
Our particular nonprofit is an educational 501 c 3. This mean our mission is based on public education. We achieve our mission by educating the public at our recycling center 7 days a week. We also are available by phone and through our website to help with any questions the public might have regarding recycling and proper disposal. We may not always have the answer but we will look long and hard to try to find it for you.
A large part of our educational mission revolves around school programs and we have given educational presentations to nearly every school public and private in Sedona and the Verde Valley. We strongly believe that our best hope for a waste free future is in the hands of the next generation. We address service clubs and organizations on the importance of recycling and the best practices to achieve real recycling in the form of remanufacturing. We also offer tours to individuals and groups every day of the week.
So we like the other regional nonprofits are a member and contribution funded organization. We are often asked “Doesn’t the collection and sale of recyclable material pay for everything you provide?” The answer to that question is no. The collection and processing of the materials we collect at our facility and drop off sites are always a break even. So it doesn’t matter if there is more or less from an economic standpoint. We strive to do more but in the end across the board this is a breakeven situation.
The importance of member support and donations comes into play in our ability to go above and beyond just everyday recycling and provide exceptional resource recovery opportunities to the public. Examples of this are our collection of Styrofoam. No other facility provides this service anywhere in Central or Northern Arizona. This material is something that should never find its way to the landfill and we are proud to be able to provide this important service at no charge to the public at our facility in Sedona. Another exception is our 24/7 collection of glass utilizing specialized bins and trailers to assure that all the glass is really recycled.
Other services we provide 7 days a week that are very expensive to our organization are electronic and battery recycling. These are two materials that are considered hazardous waste and we not only collect these materials but make sure they are recycled through certified processors and not just buried in a hazardous waste landfills. One way we have chosen to fund the collection of electronics is through our membership program. When someone becomes a member of Sedona Recycles they receive free electronics recycling for the year. Because battery recycling is so costly we cannot include this service with membership but charge $1 per pound to offset the cost.
Some of the other unique offerings of our nonprofit are reuse opportunities for anyone needing to dispose of or pick up packing peanuts and bubble wrap which are available at the Sedona center 7 days a week. We also recycle chip bags, candy wrappers and Brita filter through TerraCycle programs known as brigades. These materials find new lives through special projects which can be viewed at the organizations website.
As you can see we look a little different than your regular trash hauler. We have an educational mission and a duty to the public to provide opportunities to reduce, reuse and recycle. So the next time you visit any of our drop off sites or the Sedona Recycles facility keep in mind that we can’t do the work we do without your support. We are a grassroots member funded organization and an integral part of your community. Visit www.sedonarecycles.org to become a member or donate today.
by Jill McCutcheon, Sedona Recycles
Sedona Red Rock News
November 19, 2014