A recycled resource center is a place where gently used materials and/or unused but usable materials are dropped off and sold for a small fee to the public. If this is something you would like to start in your community, you will need several items to help you get the center up and running. Here is your official "starter pack" for a recycled resource center for your community.

Grants for Start-up and Operation Costs

Until you can get some funds coming in from the recycled materials you sell, you will need to apply for some grants for start-up and operation costs. You will want to avoid small business loans, simply because the "profits" you make will not be enough to repay the loans. Also, apply for 501 (c)(3) status, as establishing yourself as a non-profit charity will open up a few more doors to grants you will need to get things started and keep them going.

Find a "Store" Location

If you can find a location where your recycled resource center can set up shop, it is ideal to have it as centrally located as possible. That way, everyone can get to it, or visit it when they are close by. A store location in a strip mall close to a popular grocery store works best. A store front on Main Street works too.

Buy Several Bulk Bins

Bulk bins, like the ones they use in factories for carting around supplies and excess parts, are exactly what you need. Get several of these bins to line the aisles in the resource center. Then decide what will go in each bin, label that bin, and get ready to accept donations. It helps if the bins also have steel casters because then the bins can be rolled outside (by material type and donation type) to collect yarn, fasteners, tools paper goods, cardboard tubes, loose steel casters, plastic casters of different sizes, etc..

Buy Several Stackable Storage Bins

The stackable storage bins will hold any overflow that comes into the resource center. You can stack and store these bins over the tops of the bulk bins or in the back of the "store." If you are lucky enough to receive several of these as donations, you can either use them in the "store," or sell them off to the public, since everyone can always use stackable storage bins at home or in their storage units.