New Jersey DEP 2017 Recycling Award

By Michael Sabrio
Fall 2017

NJDEP 2017 Recycling Award presentation
In October 2017, Pedals for Progress won a New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) Recycling Award.

Dave Schweidenback accepted the award at the Awards Luncheon on 18 October 2017 in Neptune City, New Jersey. In the photo, Guy Watson, President of the Association of New Jersey Recyclers, is on the left in the black suit. Paul Orlando, Director of the Division of Energy Security and Sustainability, NJDEP, is on the right.

The award was for recycling activities in 2015 and 2016, but the application for the award was a chance to give the NJDEP an overall impression of P4P:

  • The 4-page Program Narrative has information on our goals, history, business model, overseas partners, and domestic collectors and collection activities.

  • The 14-page Supporting Documentation has lots of specifics:

    • what we shipped in 2015 and 2016
    • our financial statements from 2016
    • some info on collections
    • some documents from the red-tape nightmare that Dave deals with for every shipment: bills of lading, letters to foreign customs departments, declarations of contents for the shipping companies, …

The supporting docs also contain a much appreciated letter of support from Liz Sweedy, our contact at the Morris County Municipal Utilities Authority. Besides running one of our most successful regular collections, Liz arranges for us to pick up bikes from the Denville recycling center, where Gary and I just picked up 59 more bikes on November 8th. In the photo Gary is doing what he’s done many thousands of times: processing a bike. He’s removing the pedals, one of the steps we take to make the bike as small as possible so we can fit as many bikes as possible into a container. The photo also shows our very own sign at the recycling center: “Pedals for Progress Bike Corral. NO removal of bikes or parts.”

NJ DEP 2017 Recycling Award
We’re not primarily a recycling organization, but when I did the math, I estimated that since 1991 we’ve shipped more than 4 million pounds of bikes and 74,000 pounds of sewing machines out of the U.S. Not all of this would have been dumped in landfills in the short term, but that’s where it would be sooner or later. And let’s not underestimate the encouragement we provide for cleaning out basements and garages!

Of course recycling is just a happy secondary consequence of our primary mission: to provide economic opportunity to people in developing countries.

Congratulations to P4P for this 2017 NJDEP Recycling Award. Now let’s get back to work.

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