A 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Go Green 4 Education operates a door-to-door recycling service with all proceeds going to support local Pacific Beach public elementary schools.
“Each school — Crown Point, Pacific Beach, Kate Sessions — will get a $500 check every month,” said Destry Whitney, who created the nonprofit about two years ago to subsidize music and arts, public funding for which has dried up due to the state’s financial crisis.
“Recycling is how we generate revenue for the Go Green program,” said Whitney, who changed into his alter ego, the Go Green Koala, to pose with Kate Sessions’ new principal, Margaret Joseph, who accepted the nonprofit’s first recycling payout on behalf of her school Sept. 3.
“It’s really powerful,” said Joseph about Go Green’s impact on the school. “The parents sign up for it and then they’re part of the recycling program and they get these (five gallon) containers and place them on their doorsteps to ‘go green for education.’ And we get part of the proceeds.”
Joseph said the Go Green program teaches kids firsthand about recycling, as well as building upon an already strong parent organization supporting the school.
Pacific Beach businesses backing the Go Green program include Belmont Park, Luv Surf Retail, Luv San Diego Surf, San Diego Surf School, Mama Mia’s Restaurant, Papa Lunas Empanadas, Hydrangea Cove, Turquoise Coffee, The Patio on Lamont, Rosa Buettner, Quick Water Heater Co. and Café Mono.
For Whitney, his trash-to-cash recycling program was a real challenge, as well as a labor of love.
“The biggest was getting people to bring their [recyclable] materials to school and drop it off for the kids,” he said. “So we decided to go with a route system, and we collect the materials for the kids and turn it in.”
Whitney had a table set up in front of Kate Sessions Sept. 3 with educational materials about the program. Items included a plastic crate full of plastic bottles to be recycled.
“Homeowners fill them up, mostly with different types of plastic bottles, and we come along with the truck regularly and pick them up,” he said, noting a typical monthly crate full or recyclables adds up to about $1.50 in revenue per month. That doesn’t sound like much, but, as Whitney said, multiply that by 2,000 homes and it comes out to a sizable chunk of change for schools.
Each day, Go Green crews go out to a different section of the 92109 ZIP code to make a recycling pickup.
Whitney hopes revenues will grow along with the recycling program.
“We generated about $3,000 last year,” he said. “This year we’re looking at roughly $18,000 to $36,000. We’re going door to door asking if people would like to help the kids.”
So far, Go Green hasn’t been too hard a sell.
“All we ask is for stuff that’s going in the trash can,” Whitney said. “With that we can do some amazing things.”
For more information, visit www.gogreen4education.org.