Nonprofit Recycling Center That Employs Homeless People

rec_centerRecycling has a become a way of life as we all start becoming more conscious of the environment. Many low-income people and people experiencing homelessness survive by recycling. I think we can all agree that recycling is good. Well, a nonprofit recycling center that employs homeless people and helps them get their lives back is GREAT!

On a recent trip to San Diego I found myself standing in a recycling yard. I was introduced to Chad McKinney, one of the founders of Aware Recycling, but really I just thought it was like all the other recycling centers I have visited.  Then chad started telling me their story, and since I was sporting Google Glass, only a short “OK Glass” later I started to record this interview.

What started as just an idea turned into going around in a old pic up truck picking up recyclables from businesses and nightclubs. Today, Aware Recycling has a center in downtown San Diego along with a work program that hires homeless people along with a big-brother-type mentor program for youth.

One of the people I met while I was visiting still lived homeless, but thanks to the help of Aware Recycling, he just enrolled in college with dreams of going to law school! How cool is that!!!

  • Jennifer Chan

    This is a great idea, it really does show to people that the homeless aren’t lazy and actually do have jobs. Many people that I talk to always say to me, “Why don’t the homeless just go out and work instead of asking for money?” I found out that 44% of the homeless population are actually employed, but reasons such as minimum wage jobs, lack of address, or lack of multiple work hours can all contribute to being without a home even though you’re working a paid job. In a society where rental rates are cost of living are extremely high, this doesn’t even surprise me.
    You should check out a blog post that I wrote about this issue, (, or my blog in general, (, You Over Me, to read more. I am trying to debunk the myths that surround the homeless (specifically being that the homeless don’t work), to gain awareness around the more complex issues that surround it, and hopefully encourage people to put the needs of the homeless over their own, as they’re much more in need.
    Thanks again for this great read! Not only is this initiative helping the homeless, but also helping the environment at the same time, so this is a win-win situation!

    Jennifer Chan

Switch to mobile version