Rethinking “Waste” Helps School, African Orphanage, Global Crisis Nonprofit

20151004_123122It is that time of the year again. Over the past few weeks, Great Forest has helped clients do a bit of spring cleaning.  But instead of treating the unwanted items as trash, we found them all new homes–in a school, an African orphanage, and an international nonprofit. This is part of our effort to “rethink waste” and move businesses toward zero waste.

“Everything has value, even what many of us traditionally think of as waste,”  notes Maya Shenkman, Great Forest’s Director of Hotel Services.

“Hotels in particular are seeing the benefit of this approach because when they need to offload items, it is usually in bulk, with multiple items from every room.”

Looking to get rid of 300 sheets or 200 monitors? All you need to do is make a connection with an organization or group in need of what you have.  An added benefit is that donations may be less costly than standard bulk-waste collection, and many are tax-deductible.

Here is a recent list of donations we recently helped to set up:

  • 11 lockers from the Affinia Dumont Hotel went to the Martin Luther School in Queens for their work with children with special needs.
  • 100 linen sheets and 50 bath towels from the Affinia Manhattan Hotel are headed to a small orphanage with 28 children in the village of Masoro in Rawanda, Africa.  This is being handled by a concerned private individual, who approached us for the items to help the orphanage he came across during his business trips to Rawanda.
  • A further 200 sheets from Affinia Manhattan went to Global Crisis Interventions, an organization that provides emergency and disaster relief.

Global Crisis Interventions also received hundreds of old electronic items,  including working printers and computers, from a spring cleaning event at 250 west 55 Street, managed by Boston properties.  The items donated included:

  • 203 NEC Multi-sync computer monitors
  • 11 HP computer keyboards
  • 6 Dell computer stands
  • 11 HP Computer mice
  • 1 HP Lasrjet printer
  • 1 battery backup and surge protector
  • 2 Dell CPU

How To Be A Matchmaker

Matches for unwanted assets can be made in various ways:

  • Through personal connections – think about who you know.  Perhaps a professional contact at an industry association might have relationships with a charity. Perhaps a cousin or friend works at a nonprofit organization?
  • Look at what’s nearby – like churches, community centers and schools.
  • Research – sometimes matches are made just by calling around to charitable organizations.  Do an online search. Look for resources from your local Department of Sanitation, like NYC’s Waste Match, also known as ReuseNYC, where many of the matches in this story were made.



Sign up for "3 to Zero (Waste)." Get 3 tips each month + insights.