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Keys to Recycling Success
Why just get rid of something when it could be the key to helping other people in need? Founder of the Massachusetts-based nonprofit organization Key For Hope, Ralph Greenberg knows the value of one key can transcend beyond the price of scrap metal.
Everyone has a few old keys hiding in drawers around the house, and according to the Key for Hope website, some 400 million keys are thrown away each year. If a key is donated to Key for Hope, it will instead be melted down for sale as scrap metal and the profits are given to schools, shelters and food pantries.
Greenberg is also the founder and president/owner of Technology Management Corporation (TMC), a scrap metal recycling facility, and hopes to continue the growth of his family recycling business. “The scrap metal business is in my family’s blood line dating back four generations. I have always been in the scrap business and I am looking for a different approach to this industry, dating back to the 1940s when Americans had to provide metal for the war. I believe we… should be using the same scenario, not for a war against countries but a war on hunger, homelessness, and poverty.” Founded in 2006, the mission of Key for Hope is grounded in these principles, and helps alleviate poverty and gives homeless people a chance to get back on their feet through job training and opportunities.
Greenberg has had the opportunity to travel abroad to many countries, including Siberia, Scotland, Germany, China and Africa for various conferences and causes. “My visit to Africa, what a place- the people, the food, the beautiful country. My cause to visit Africa was my visit to the International Aids Conference.” Seeing the challenges and poverty people face in other places inspired him to help people in his own community. With continuous outreach to local schools, his Keys in the Classroom program has in turn inspired many children to volunteerism, helping to improve the lives of people even if they don’t known them.
Greenberg explains, “There are 26 schools currently involved with the Keys in the Classroom program. Collection goals would be great but it is hard to tell people to do this. I believe Keys in the Classroom would be the jump start to the global program but of course starting small is how we need to.” Currently they are employing the Keys In The Classroom program in the following east coast towns: Natick, Easton, Brockton, Stoughton, Carver, Quincy, Walpole, and many private schools. “We are also in the process of discussing the program with the Massachusetts Association Of Superintendents office.”
Unlock a Larger Potential
Greenberg hopes the mission of Key for Hope can gain momentum with other organizations on a larger scale. “We can use the concept for schools, households, municipality and industry to give some metal that they generate instead of selling the metal; maybe a portion can be donated to this war effort [on hunger and poverty]. That is what recycling means to me. We throw away so much viable materials that could be recycled.”
A key statistic for the U.S.: 53 million K-12 kids + 15.9 million college adults = 68.9 million people
68.9 million people ÷ 44 keys = 1.56 million pounds x *$2.10 (Current Market) =
$4.2 million that could be used to buy food.
Greenberg continues, “We accept donations from anywhere however the shipping cost sometimes are too costly…we are forming alliances with some nationwide and global collection sites. We received keys from the California San Jose Airport’s lost and found- 7 pounds of keys worth $15- Virginia, Florida, Texas, and Minnesota and the New England states. We can send all the necessary supplies to run a successful key drive.”
Talk about small things adding up!
How To Start a Key Drive
As you can see, the great thing about this type of recycling program is that it can be accomplished wherever you live. Get inspired! Check out the information Key For Hope provides for starting a key drive in your community. You can also find posters and letters to publicize and gain participation in your key drive on their site.