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Fundraising Idea of the Month:
Glass Drive

by Doug Nash

Recycling and other environmentally friendly activities are enjoying more support today than ever before. Any activity that is environmentally friendly has a huge advantage over other activities. A glass or bottle drive is definitely in this category. A wonderful mix of making money while helping preserve our environment.

Before you start your glass drive contact the local glass recycle to find out how best to go about the activity. Seek advice on what bottles are refillable and which aren't. Refillable bottles are paid for by the dozen (some wine bottles and some brown beer bottles) non-refillable bottles are paid for by the kilo. You can get between .50c and $1.20 per dozen or around $35-40 per tonne. By calling local glass recyclers you will get a good idea if a fundraising activity is right for your organisation. It is better financially for you to take the glass to the recycler as they pay less on site than at their factory. However better on site than not at all.

Let your membership or community know that you are having a glass drive, and all the details of it, at a meeting, by letter or a mention in the local paper. What you want to do is let everyone know what you are doing and giving them time to put their empty containers aside, to make your efforts worthwhile. Fix a date for pickup (this could be over a period of a day to a week). When advising people of your activity include a contact name and phone number, so those wanting to participate can advise you of their involvement and addresses. The more people involved the better you success will be.

There are four main ways of running a glass drive, each has it's advantages and disadvantages. Read the following and decide which is best for your organisation.

Home collection

Here you need someone to let you use their trailer or truck to collect the glass from the homes of the participants for transport to the glass recycling centre or a local point where the glass recycler can come to pick up at your convenience.

Local drop off point

You may find it more efficient and a better way to attract non-member participation by having a local and publicly accessible drop off bin.

Find a receptacle like an old 44 gallon drum with a removable lid or some old wheelie bins, you might even find that the glass recycler may have their own receptacles that you can use.

Place them where the public has free and safe access to the for most of the day and on weekends. This way non-members can participate and you have less work to do. Another benefit here is you can run this activity as like as is convenient to your organisation, only having to call the recycler when the receptacles are full.

A word of warning: You must be able to secure the receptacles from vandalism. You will not want to have to clean a mess of broken glass after some vandals have had their way smashing the glass all around.

After you have decided how you will collect the glass and bottles you then must decide whether you will take the glass to them or have the recycler come to you.

Company collection versus you deliver.

If the recycler comes to you they will pay you less to cover the costs of coming to you. However you will be spared the inconvenience of having to sort the glass and bottles, packing them and finding the means, time and volunteers to transport the glass to the recycler. A lot of organisations can not get to do all this during the trading hours of the recycler, so it is better for them to have the recycler to come to them even if they do pay less.

A glass drive can be either a short term one of type project or an on-going long term activity, it is up to you and your organisation which is better suited to your needs and circumstances.


About the Author:

Doug Nash lives in Logan City in Queensland, Australia. He has graciously consented to share a fundraising idea with us every month. Although many of the ideas aren't new, each of them has a unique flair that comes from being developed and refined half a world away from ours. Visit his web site at for more fundraising ideas.

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