Concord Recycling Network Turns Trash into Treasure

Business NH Magazine, Manchester, NH.

Friday, March 4, 2016

In 2015, IRN –The Reuse+Recycling Network in Concord recovered 7.4 million pounds of furnishings and equipment from 88 organizations and completed 219 projects in 29 states, including Maine, Florida and California. Just over half of IRN’s 2015 total, or about 66,000 items, were provided to 14 international nonprofits and were distributed in nine countries in the Americas, eight countries in Eastern Europe and Asia, and 12 in Africa.

IRN collects surplus furniture and equipment from various companies and then makes a match with a suitable charitable organization, managing the removal, packing, and transportation of the furnishings from the generator to the recipient organization.

The company doubled the number of its U.S. nonprofit partners, and increased the quantity of furnishings distributed in the United States by 60 percent. By year’s end, IRN had provided 2.4 million pounds of furnishings to 98 U.S. organizations in 26 states. These include dozens of charter and other public schools, tribal schools, Habitat for Humanity ReStores, local furniture banks and thrift shops and larger regional organizations.

“2015 was our busiest year ever,” says Mark Lennon, CEO of IRN. “With each month and year, more and more schools and companies are realizing that surplus assets are exactly that: assets. They are not trash. There are millions of people who need them. We’re happy that IRN can help bridge the gap between supply and demand.”

In 2015, IRN sourced furnishings from 31 colleges and universities, 22 K-12 schools or school districts, three federal agencies, eight hospitals and 24 corporations. About 6.5 million pounds (over 122,000 individual items) were provided to 112 nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and overseas for disaster and poverty relief, while 900,000 pounds of items not amenable to reuse were recycled for their metal content.

Collected items included:

• More than 6,000 beds and mattresses

• 4,400 dressers and wardrobes

• 5,800 bookcases

• 5,200 storage cabinets

• 4,400 filing cabinets

• More than 5,600 student chairs

• 5,000 dining and dormitory chairs

• 2,100 sofas and lounge chairs

• 15,000 stacking chairs

• 8,000 student desks

• 2,100 tablet-arm desks for students

• 3,000 dormitory or bedroom desks

• 12,000 tables

• 1,900 bulletin boards, blackboards, and white-boards.

In addition, IRN handled thousands of residential and commercial appliances, crates of office and school supplies, library furnishings, 1,000 stools and 100 kitchen sinks, a total of more than 122,000 items.

“The need for usable furnishings is essentially infinite,” says Lennon, “not just overseas, but right here in the U.S. When we can help local economies, help individuals and families, and keep usable resources out of the landfill at the same time, we’ve had a very good day.”

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