One Man's Trashcan is Another Man's Treasure
This is an unusual story that we do not want to be relegated to the dustbin of reuse history. Imagine for the moment that you are a warehouse manager for a large corporation. Major refurbishment projects on your campus resulted in 16,000 surplus wastebaskets sent to the warehouse. What to do with an inventory of baskets so large that their collective capacity was the equivalent of ten 15’ x 30’ swimming pools?
The warehouse manager asked FRS if a home could be found for these baskets. At FRS, we pride ourselves on finding homes for usable surplus, but saving 16,000 trashcans from the trash was a new type of challenge for us. To our surprise, it was easy to place this inventory with two California school districts, a nearby university, and several smaller nonprofits in the region.
About 25% of the baskets were new and still in boxes. The remainder were clean and shrink-wrapped onto 64 palettes. The majority were seven-gallon baskets. The palettes were loaded onto tractor trailers and sent to the two school districts and the university, each receiving about 5,000 baskets. Smaller loads were distributed to various charities in Nevada. In total, more than 16 tons of (empty) wastebaskets were shipped.
When we asked the Construction Manager at the nearby school district how she liked the shipment, she responded, “It was great! We were amazed how excited the school sites were to receive them. Thank you for thinking of us!”.
So, it goes to show that a large inventory of inexpensive items, such as wastebaskets, can be of significant value to a nonprofit organization. The cost of purchasing 5,000 baskets similar to the ones donated, could be upwards of $50,000. The donor corporation realized benefits as well. By diverting these items from the landfill and giving them to charitable causes, they upheld their social responsibility principles. As an added bonus, the reuse solution was less expensive than recycling or disposal. Indeed, the adage about one man’s trash becoming another’s treasure rings true once again.