8 Nonprofit Recycling Organizations Making a Positive Impact

Living sustainably just got a whole lot easier.

Published April 21, 2023
Woman hand holding and putting plastic bottle waste into recycle bin

Living sustainably looks different from year to year as we develop new technologies and learn new things about how the way we live impacts the environment. If you're confused by conflicting messages about how to protect the environment, you can turn to these nonprofit recycling organizations that center their missions around recycling for charity and to better our world to give you some inspiration and guidance.

National Recycling Organizations That Do Great Work

At the national scale, there are several successful recycling organizations and nonprofits that support sustainable efforts across every level of production and consumption. Today, recycling doesn't just look like not throwing away your aluminum cans. Instead, you can contribute to the global recycling effort by supporting recycling in majorly impactful areas of daily life. These are some of the most widespread and accessible recycling nonprofits around.

Keep America Beautiful

One massive national nonprofit, Keep America Beautiful, works towards several environmental and beautification goals. Of their many beautification initiatives, they aim to help end littering and improve recycling across America. Unlike some nonprofits, Keep America Beautiful works within communities to stop environmental decay.

How Can You Get Involved?

Keep America Beautiful has multiple ways you can get involved. One is through the America Recycles Day, which is the "only nationally recognized day dedicated to promoting and celebrating recycling in the United States." Find a local recycling event near you through their easy search page. You can also register/organize your own event on top of attending one, or apply to become a volunteer for year-round support.

Ample Harvest Inc.

Ample Harvest is a networking recycle-oriented organization that works to enable "gardeners who've grown too much food to easily find food pantries in their area." This work helps people on all sides of the food waste industry. By making it easier for gardeners to donate their surplus, they're also helping to support and feed more people in need and keep food pantries supplied.

How Can You Get Involved?

Of course, one of the easiest ways to get involved is to use their services and donate your surplus harvest to a local food bank. However, if you don't have a green thumb, you can make a monetary donation. Or, if you work with a local food pantry, you can help them get signed up with Ample Harvest.

Ruth's Reusable Resources

According to their website, Ruth's Reusable Resources "has given away more than $84 million worth of surplus furniture, paper, books, office supplies and computers to schools and non-profits" since 1994. Based in Maine, this nonprofit takes school resources and donations and offers them to teachers in need.

How Can You Get Involved?

If you're in the area, you can volunteer. If not, you can make a monetary donation using PayPal or a check, or donate relevant supplies like paper, desk chairs, books, and more.

Discover Books

Recycling doesn't just look like not throwing away your cans or plastic bottles in the trash. It also looks like taking your old belongings that you're not using anymore and donating them for someone else to enjoy.

The Discover Books recycling organization is one of these places that supports recycling in a unique way. According to their website, they've recycled over 500 million pounds of paper and donated over 10 million books to non-profit organizations around the world.

How Can You Get Involved?

With Discover Books, their main purpose is to collect used books. You can donate by finding one of their collection boxes, and dropping your books off.


If you've ever been to a career fair, you know just how many boxes of branded goodies each company brings. Instead of tossing those in the trash, SwagCycle focuses on "managing the lifecycle of branded merchandise."

As of December 2022, they've kept almost 1.5 million products out of landfills. Instead of working on a local level, they work on a corporate one, guiding businesses through recycling options for the branded merchandise they don't use.

How Can You Get Involved?

If you're interested in your company working with SwagCycle, you can submit an inquiry on their website to talk with one of their experts about your options.

Small Recycling Organizations That Support Your Local Community

Although national recycling organizations are at the forefront of creating global change, there are so many underrepresented small recycling groups across the United States that you can work with. They might not have the ad money or social presence that these massive groups do, but their efforts directly impact you and your neighbors' community.

Here are a few awesome local organizations we'd like to spotlight. But, reach out to your local environmental groups, county officials, and nonprofit leaders to see which small scale recycling groups are active in your area.

Second Chance

In 2001, Second Chance (a 501(c)(3)) was founded. A Baltimore-based nonprofit that takes the donated or in-house sourced salvage items and makes it all available for people to reuse at their 200,000 sq. ft. retail center. Not only do they work to recycle every usable part of old building constructs, but they also employ displaced and unemployed workers.

How Can You Get Involved?

To get involved with Second Chance, you can donate old home goods to their center, make a monetary donation using PayPal, or fill out their volunteer form to donate your time.

Triad Foam Recycling Coalition

The Triad Foam Recycling Coalition is a partnership between three different North Carolina environmental groups: Greensboro Beautiful, Inc., Environmental Stewardship Greensboro, and Tiny House Community Development. Together, they manage the Triad Foam Recycling Coalition, which collects recyclable foam from local Greensboro and the surrounding areas to keep it all out of the landfills.

They take all of the foam they collect and transform it into densified 'ingots.' They sell their ingots to contractors and manufacturers, and take the profits to use in their own Tiny House projects.

How Can You Get Involved?

You can get involved with the Triad Foam Recycling Coalition by donating old (clean) foam to one of their Greensboro or High Point donations sites. Or you can make a one-time or monthly monetary donation through PayPal or a credit/debit card.

Habitat for Humanity ReStores

Despite being an organization with national reach, each of Habitat for Humanity's ReStores are independently owned and operated by local Habitat for Humanity organizations. Each ReStore collects donations of home goods, entertainment products, building materials and sells them at a fraction of their cost.

Since 1991, people have been helping their neighbors across North America build safe and comfortable homes through sustainable actions, and the money gained from ReStore sales goes towards building new homes for vulnerable people.

How Can You Get Involved?

You can locate a Habitat ReStore in your area using their zip code locator and donate your old home goods to help families in need. You can also volunteer at your local ReStore, as well as purchase items from the ReStore to bolster the funds they have to build new homes in the future.

Recycling Charities Make Helping Out Easier

We've only got one planet, and once we've ruined it, we're up the creek without a paddle. Thankfully, there are countless recycling charities that work in different arenas of our everyday life to take the recycling fight to the front lines.

Thankfully, we live in an age where we can donate and recycle so much, from ink cartridges to underwear. This list in no way represents all of the recycling-oriented charities out there, and you should look in your backyard to see if there's one you can support that directly impacts your own community. But thanks to these recycling nonprofits, helping out just got a whole lot easier.

8 Nonprofit Recycling Organizations Making a Positive Impact