From soap to sports equipment, just about any item can be recycled and reused. The ten recycling nonprofits listed below are proving it. They’re taking everyday items that would otherwise be thrown away, refurbishing them and redistributing them to kids around the world. Find out how they’re making a positive impact on the world with recycled and reused materials.
1. Free Bikes 4 Kidz
Free Bikes 4 Kidz helps kids have a happier, healthier childhood by providing bikes to those in need. Millions of bikes are sold in the United States each year, a large portion of which go to children who inevitably outgrow them. FB4K helps find new owners for those old bikes by accepting them as donations and giving them away. In the last eight years alone, they’ve given away a staggering 32,000 bikes.
2. Leveling the Playing Field
Leveling the Playing Field reallocates sports equipment to those in need, freeing up funds and providing access for more kids to play sports. In just five years, $2.5 million worth of free equipment has been given to over 400 programs. The Silver Spring, Maryland organization continues to lower participation costs.
“Currently, 1 in 5 underserved families do not get their kids involved in athletics in part due to the cost of sporting equipment. We aim to remove that barrier by bringing the more affluent youth sports community behind this mission by donating their used/excess gear to kids who desperately need it.”
Max Levitt | Founder & Executive Director
Level the Playing Field has been recognized by New York Yankees Manager, Joe Girardi, at a pregame press conference and honored as a community champion by the WNBA’s Washington Mystics.
3. Keys 4/4 Kids
Keys 4/4 Kids connects children to art and music through used and unwanted pianos. Professional piano technicians refurbish the pianos for resale and the resulting proceeds help support youth music programs. Keys 4/4 Kids has been so successful in Belle Plaine, Minnesota that it has expanded to Chicago, Kansas City and several other cities across the country.
4. Green Kids Now
Green Kids Now, Inc. is an organization based in Fremont, California that encourages children to raise awareness on environmental issues. Their programs and services are developed and put into action by children, living up to the motto of being “For Kids, By Kids.” Children have the opportunity to get involved in wetlands reconstruction, creek and coastal cleanups, book drives and various other projects.
The Green Star School Awards Program provides programming for schools in five different categories.
- Zero Waste School
- Water Conservation and preservation
- Energy Conservation and Alternate Resources
- School Garden
- Nature Preservation and Conservation
“For each of these five categories, there is guidance and checklist on our website, GreenStarSchool.org. When a school has fulfilled all the items in the checklist, then they could submit their application for that category. The application is reviewed by experts, and if all requirements are met, the school would be awarded a Green Star.”
Pavan Raj Gowda | Founder & Climate Leader
5. Dreaming Zebra
The Dreaming Zebra Foundation takes reusable art and music supplies and redistributes them throughout the world. The Portland, Oregon nonprofit operates on a core belief that all children, regardless of their financial circumstances, should have access to the arts. As for their name, it represents the idea that just as every zebra is unique, so is every child. And that every child should be encouraged to pursue their artistic dreams.
6. Computers for Kids
Computers for Kids is a Boise, Idaho nonprofit that refurbishes and donates fully-equipped computer systems to schools and students. The goal is to equalize educational opportunities and close the digital divide between those that do and don’t have computer access at home. To date, individual and business donations have given thousands of children a home computer.
7. Clean the World
Clean the World has a simple solution to solve preventable hygiene-related illnesses. By collecting and recycling soap that would otherwise be discarded by hotels, the organization helps people all over the world prevent these potentially life-threatening illnesses. Founded in 2009 in Florida, Clean the World now has over 50 full-time employees across the world supporting the cause.
8. Art FORM
Art FORM San Diego is a nonprofit branch of an art studio that provides arts education to children for little or no cost. FORM stands for Found Objects Recycled Materials as the program relies on recycled materials for projects. Students are encouraged to use creative problem-solving during workshops.
Soles4Souls operates on the premise that one pair of shoes can provide health hope and opportunity for those living in need all around the globe. Soles4Souls has distributed 30 million pairs of new and used shoes in 127 countries and all 50 states in the U.S. The goal is to Wear Out Poverty by providing short-term relief and long-term solutions.
Since 2006, Soles4Souls has diverted 23.8 million pounds of shoes and clothes from landfills. These shoes and clothes help create economic opportunities for entrepreneurs in developing nations, as a gently used pair of shoes can sell for an average of $10. This additional income provides basic necessities for entrepreneurs and their families.
10. Read Indeed
Read Indeed was founded by Maria Keller when she was just 8 years old. She set out to collect and distribute 1 million books to kids in need by the time she turned 18. She accomplished that goal by the age of 13. Now at 17 years old, she and her family have donated over 2 million books around the world.
Recycling Nonprofits Making a Difference
Do you have or know of a recycling organization or nonprofit that is making a positive impact on your community? Feel free to drop a comment below. Also check out our features on Recycle-A-Bike and RAFT Colorado for an up-close look at recycling nonprofits making a difference in the lives of children.