We Care Recycling seeking new direction
CARLINVILLE (June 28, 2018) – For 30 years, Carlinville has been home to We Care Recycling, a not-for-profit organization operating drop-off facilities, processing storage buildings and curbside recycling. Now, due to the departure of key board members for personal or medical reasons, including the president and treasurer, the organization is trying to determine its next steps.
Employee Randy Duncan, who was an original board member when the organization was founded in 1988 and has served as manager of the operation, said the board is open to a variety of options to keep the facility going, whether that be recruiting new board members or selling to a government entity, another non-profit organization, or a for-profit company.
“A not-for-profit, like any other organization or business, goes through cycles as time goes on and at some point, it has to get handed off from one generation to the next,” said Duncan. “The people who are on the board right now are mostly who’ve been on it a long time, and some of those people who were on the board have recently left. It’s probably time to hand it off to other people in the community who are interested in keeping it going.”
Duncan, who has worked at the center since its inception, explained that he hurt his back last fall, and that prompted him to think about making a change. “I have decided that this is the kind of work that I cannot possibly do indefinitely,” he said. “There’s a lot of manual labor and a lot of walking on concrete. If my chiropractor were following me around, about every 20 minutes he would probably clear his throat… I have cared about this place enough to help get it started and to help keep it running for 30 years, but if I squeeze all of my life into this, I get to the end and there will be absolutely nothing left. It’s starting to feel like that would be a mistake for me.”
Currently, the board is down to four active members — it originally started with six or seven — with two full-time and two part-time employees (they are also looking for a plant manager). “We could use some new board members; specifically, people with some business acumen and with some financial acumen and some interest and willingness to help make the financial side work,” said Duncan. “Money-wise, the recycling center’s not doing too badly. It’s not like we’re on the ropes because we’re out of cash. We’re not. We’re doing okay. It’s never been a big money-maker, but we’ve always been able to keep ourselves going. We need people. If somebody wants to propose some alternate idea, that would be fine, too.”
Duncan explained We Care Recycling is rare because they accept recycling materials from anyone and anywhere, and also recycles items many centers won’t — for example, some municipalities will only accept items from residents, and for-profit centers often accept items from people who pay the company for that or other services. “If it’s a for-profit recycling center, most of them will be more like a scrap yard, where they handle a lot of metals and that’s mainly it, or metals and paper,” said Duncan. “We handle plastics, tin cans, aluminum cans, magazines, newspaper, cardboard, office paper. If it’s a for-profit place, as soon as something becomes unprofitable, they’ll drop it like a hot rock, and rightfully so. For a long time in the past, we took glass, when we weren’t making any money on it. We were one of the last places around that took glass. Finally we had to quit because we not only weren’t making money on it, we were losing a good bit of money on it. The money has to come from somewhere. We could do it as long as the whole organization was making some, but we were losing so much that it was starting to drag it down, and we had to quit doing the glass.”
Duncan emphasized that he wants to find a way to keep the center operational. “I care about this place,” he said. “I put almost all of my adult life into making this happen, doing something that, frankly, a large part of the population doesn’t care at all about. I want it to continue. I want it to keep doing the good that it has done, maybe even do better. Sometimes organizations can get stuck in the same way of doing things because you have the same people who have been there forever. Sometimes it helps to have new people in with fresh eyes and fresh ideas. That would be great if something like that could happen.”
Donations are accepted to help keep the recycling center open; they may be made at U.S. Bank in Carlinville or mailed to We Care Recycling Inc., P.O. Box 133, Carlinville, IL 62626.
Anyone with questions or suggestions may contact Duncan at (217) 416-3871. For more information about the company, visit wecarerecycling.org or facebook.com/WeCareRecyclingInc, call (217) 854-8888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.