Methow Recycles serves Okanogan County, an area in Washington state roughly the size of Connecticut. The county has a population of 40,000–roughly seven people per square mile. The county owns and operates the landfill and a very limited recycling program.
In the late 1990’s a group of individuals came together to develop a recycling program. The program was open 19 hours a week and ran with a skeleton staff of part-time employees and volunteers. They accepted both self-hauled source-separated materials and co-mingled products. During these early years, they were able to support the organization through the sale of the recycled materials. But then market prices began to drop. No longer could material sales support the organization. Methow Recycles knew that they needed to engage the community and begin to fund-raise if they were going to keep their program going.
In early 2010 as Methow Recycles was approaching their 10th anniversary, they recognized that they needed to thinking about long-term sustainability of their organization. They wrote a grant to The Recycling Foundation to put together a strategic plan. The grant was funded and Methow Recycles was able to hire a facilitator to lead the strategic planning process. They surveyed the board and staff and built a robust plan to help them move forward. This process also allowed them to add an education and outreach program so that they could begin to change the behavior of people in Okanogan County, increase recycling, and decrease the materials going to the landfill.
Betsy Cushman, Executive Director, shared that receiving the grant from the Recycling Foundation for the strategic plan made a significant difference in the organization. It helped them mature as an organization and set a clear path of how to move forward into the future.
To learn more about Methow Recycles, visit their webpage.