Building Bigger

Cincinnati Recycling & Reuse Hub Expansion

To fight climate change by providing a place where almost anything can be recycled or reused.

The Hub opened in April 2021 to create a place where "hard-to-recycle" items that can't go into curbside bins are collected and sent for recycling or reuse. Increasing recycling and reuse decreases the resources needed and the greenhouse gases produced to make new items. This is increasingly important since, according to United Nations' reports, 2030 may be the "make or break" point for climate change, which disproportionately affects the communities who have the fewest resources to fight it. The popularity of the Hub is evident every week, when people drop off items to our rented warehouse or come to "shop" in our free take-away area. Since we opened, we've had almost 5000 drop-offs and we've kept over 90 tons out of the landfill, including almost 50 tons of electronics and 3+ tons of Styrofoam sent for recycling, and 16+ tons of items, such as packing materials, office and school supplies, and plant pots taken for reuse, including many given to other non-profits.

Currently, the main way for the Hub to get items is drop-offs at our warehouse. Since we're almost entirely volunteers, we're only open for 10 collection hours a week, which is not always convenient for everyone. We have a cargo van and a part-time driver that could pick up items from other places, though. This grant would allow us to hire an off-site collections coordinator to work with organizations who want to send their "waste" for recycling or reuse, to set up electronics drives and recycling drop-off events in neighborhoods where recycling is difficult, and to set up permanent off-site collection sites, so that people wouldn't always have to drive to the downtown area Hub to drop off all of their items. Those off-site collection sites would include schools (that could collect dried markers and drink pouches), businesses (that could collect stretch wrap and plastic strapping), and municipalities (that could collect eyeglasses, empty prescription bottles, and cell phones).

The biggest impact this grant would have would be to allow us to start our Neighborhood Ambassador program, so that we have "helpers" to determine what the needs and barriers for recycling are in each part of the Greater Cincinnati community. For instance, in some areas, people can't easily recycle electronics because there is usually a fee and it's hard to get large items to recyclers if you don't have transportation. This is a problem, since electronics contain things like lead, mercury, and other heavy metals, which can affect health, especially for children. We hope to reduce or eliminate those recycling barriers with help from other community partners, but we need a coordinator to make the community connections and to set up events. Once that person is in place, we think we'll be able to keep a minimum of 50 additional tons per year out of the landfill and we'll indirectly improve the health of thousands of people in lower income areas where we hold electronics events.

Back to winners