The Worcester Business Journal recently reported on the expansion of the Devens Eco-Efficiency Center’s recycling program, known as the Great Exchange. The Devens Eco-Efficiency Center created the Great Exchange in 2008 to acquire donated materials such as office supplies, packing materials, furniture, and arts and crafts supplies from area businesses and provide them at little or no cost to other businesses and institutions in need of those resources.
During the Great Exchange events, area schools, non-profits, municipal agencies, and businesses can “shop” for donated resources. Most items are available for free while small donations are requested for larger items. The program helps keep perfectly-usable materials out of landfills, while allowing donor organizations to save on disposal costs, and recipients to save on purchasing costs. The program is especially helpful to schools and nonprofits, which often have limited funds for the purchase of new equipment and supplies.
Since its inception in 2008, the Great Exchange has diverted in excess of 400 tons of materials from landfills to more than 250 non-profit and for-profit businesses and institutions, saving nearly $600,000 in disposal costs. In that time, the program has grown from a one-time event held in a meeting room at the Devens Enterprise Commission, to a program that coordinates five to six such events yearly and fills the entirety of the Enterprise Commission’s 2,500 square foot basement.
Last year, the program diverted 66 tons of materials and served over 100 recipients. However, its capacity has historically been limited by relying on donor organizations to drop off materials, or Eco-Efficiency Center staff using their personal vehicles to collect donations. A recent Sustainable Materials Recovery Program (SMRP) grant from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), will allow the Devens Eco-Efficiency Center to expand its capacity by purchasing a cargo van and hiring a part-time employee to facilitate operations.
For more information on the Great Exchange, please visit The Devens Eco-Efficiency Center’s website.
RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts helps businesses and institutions maximize recycling, reuse, and composting opportunities. The RecyclingWorks Find-A-Recycler tool allows businesses and institutions to find local recyclers and reuse organizations, including the Devens Eco-Efficiency Center. To speak to a recycling expert, call our hotline: (888) 254-5525 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.