9 Best Charities That Promote Recycling (Complete 2023 List)

9 Best Charities That Promote Recycling (Complete 2023 List)

Dennis Kamprad

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Recycling is the process of gathering and converting resources into new goods that would otherwise be thrown away as waste. Both the environment and the community can benefit from recycling. It has the potential to change the world by conserving resources, reducing landfills, saving energy, and protecting the environment. Because of this, numerous non-profit organizations have stepped up to support recycling on a global scale. So we had to ask: What are the best charities that promote recycling?

The best charities that promote recycling are Ample Harvest Inc., WasteAid, and Ruth’s Reusable Resources. These charities educate homes and communities on surplus management, beautifying their environment, and saving lives.

Whether you want to promote recycling in your community, become more responsible in excess and waste management, or educate your community for active participation, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities for recycling are all about, how they work, and what your best way would be to make a contribution.

Related: Did you know that you can make Amazon donate 0.5% of your purchases to a charitable organization of your choice. Sign up at smile.amazon.com, select the charity you want your donations to go to, and make Amazon donate a part of your purchases to your chosen charity at no extra cost to you.

Here’s What All the Best Charities That Promote Recycling Have in Common

The charities on this list were chosen based on their mission, impact and transparency ratings, and achievements. They operate worldwide, and they all share the same goal of promoting reuse and recycling to save lives and protect the environment.

These charities work to enlighten and inspire people to make decisions that will improve and beautify their communities daily. They adhere to common concepts such as reduction, reuse, and recycling, and all work to ensure that the public has access to the tools and assistance they require to do so. 

These Are the 9 Best Charities That Promote Recycling in 2023

Below are our favorite charities that promote recycling:

  • Ample Harvest Inc.
  • WasteAid
  • Ruth’s Reusable Resources
  • Keep America Beautiful(KAB)
  • Container Recycling Institute
  • BRING Recycling
  • Zero Waste Europe
  • Global Links
  • Soles4souls

(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)

Ample Harvest Inc.: No Food Left Behind

Ample Harvest was founded in 2009 by Gary Oppenheimer to reduce food waste by ensuring that excess food gets delivered to nearby food pantries. Today, they run a hyper-local community-based program that operates on a national scale to make use of surplus fresh food.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Ample Harvest inc, has a score of 94% for accountability and transparency from Charity Navigator. The charity also has a Platinum Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

“Working to diminish the waste of food and therefore hunger in America through education and technology.”

Ample Harvest Inc.

What they do: Ample Harvest Inc. works to minimize food waste by helping local gardeners to donate their surplus produce to nearby food pantries by signing up for their opt-in registry. This allows fresh food to be available to vulnerable families instead of just canned goods. They also run the Faith Fights Food Waste educational program to help clergies of all faiths become aware of food waste. These educational resources enable them to be able to deliver sermons about the issue to their congregation. Furthermore, through their Emergency Food Assistance Program, they help families facing food insecurity to find local food pantries in their area.

What they’ve achieved: Today, Ample Harvest works with 62 million gardeners across all 50 states to donate billions of pounds of fresh food to 8,002 pantries. This has provided 4,200 vulnerable communities with a sustainable supply of fresh, locally grown food free of charge. For example, in 2020, Ample Harvest saved over 1.6 million pounds of produce from going to waste and helped 182,529 people to find their local pantry. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Ample Harvest through their website. You can also donate your excess fresh produce to your nearest food pantry.

WasteAid: Delivering Waste Management

WasteAid was founded in 2015 by two international waste managers, Simon Penney and Rachel Wildblood, to improve the lives of people without waste services by disseminating recycling skills. Today, they collaborate with policymakers and communities in low- and middle-income nations to establish waste management and recycling programs.

Their impact and transparency ratings: According to their financial report, WasteAid spent 85% of their expenditure on charitable projects, 11% on fundraising, and 3% on governance costs.

We promote and share locally-appropriate, evidence-based and inclusive waste management practices, supporting and encouraging others to take positive action.”


What they do: WasteAid collaborates with community organizations and businesses to implement innovative waste disposal and recycling centers in low and middle-income communities to reduce environmental impact. In addition, they support grassroots entrepreneurs and innovators in developing communities across South Africa, India, and Vietnam through their Circular Economy Network and Zero Waste Cities Challenge to create sustainable livelihoods. Furthermore, through their Plastic Pollution program, the charity supports people in impoverished countries, such as Cameroon, to design new and profitable businesses to recycle plastic. They also empower the youth to become green champions through skill sharing and know-how.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, WasteAid has operated in 9 countries, positively impacting over 100,000 people worldwide in a year. Through their Circular Economy Network, the charity has saved 300 tonnes of plastic and 87 tonnes of food from landfills per year.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to WasteAid via their website. You can also support the charity by organizing a fundraising event or by leaving a gift to WasteAid in your will.

Ruth’s Reusable Resource (3R’s): Putting Business Surplus to Use in Our Schools

Ruth’s Reusable Resources was founded in 1994 by Ruth Libby to reduce waste and connect teachers to no-cost classroom materials. Today, the charity runs a warehouse in Portland where they gather and keep extra teaching supplies to enable teachers to shop for materials at the teacher store for free.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Ruth’s Reusable Resources has a score of 100% from Charity Navigator.

“To ensure that all students, from pre-k to high school, have basic supplies and creative tools for literacy, STEAM, and health education through the environmentally conscious distribution of donated supplies.”

Ruth’s Reusable Resources

What they do: Ruth’s Reusable Resources runs a free store for teachers to pick out supplies they need in their classrooms to provide to school children. In the same building, the charity also operates a modest thrift-style 4public store that is open to the general public to buy arts and craft materials. In addition, their Backpack Program provides students with the supplies they need to start the school year. Aside from school supplies, the charity also refurbishes lightly used computer equipment and distributes them to schools and other charities for their use.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, Ruth’s Reusable Resources has donated excess furniture, paper, books, office supplies, and computers, totaling more than $84 million. For example, they have provided over 4,800,000 classroom supplies to students in Maine. In addition, Ruth’s Reusable Resources has placed over 10,800 donated technology and computer equipment in schools. The charity has also filled 51,430 backpacks with new supplies and distributed them around schools.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Ruth’s Reusable Resources through their website. You can also donate physical items by dropping off unwanted materials and equipment. In addition, you can support the charity by shopping through AmazonSmile.

Keep America Beautiful (KAB): Maintaining Clean, Green, and Beautiful Spaces

Keep America Beautiful was founded in 1953 by a group of corporate and civic leaders to bring the public and private sectors together to create and advance a national cleanliness ethic. Today, the charity conducts training sessions on solid waste issues.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives Keep America Beautiful a 3-star rating. The charity also holds a Gold Seal of Transparency from GuideStar.

To inspire and educate people to take action every day to improve and beautify their community environment.

Keep America Beautiful

What they do: Keep America Beautiful (KAB) organizes grassroots community service programs involving volunteers, local businesses, and civic leaders to encourage people to take more responsibility for their local community. For example, they facilitate a cigarette litter prevention program to reduce cigarette litter by half by reviewing local litter laws, educating the public on appropriate cigarette butt disposal, and distributing portable ashtrays. The most recognized of their initiatives is the National America Recycles Day (ARD), which encourages citizens to commit to recycling more in their daily lives. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, Keep America Beautiful has remained committed to cleaning cities and reducing waste across America. For example, within ten years they have produced over a billion dollars in economic value for the communities they serve. In the same period, they collected over 750 million pounds of litter and recyclables, and planted millions of plants, flowers, and bulbs. In addition, they have cleaned, improved, and beautified more than 500 kilometers of roads and highways.

Ways to Contribute:  You can donate directly to Keep America Beautiful on their website. You can also volunteer to join the movement.

Container Recycling Institute: Collection and Recycling of Packaging Materials

The Container Recycling Institute (CRI) was founded in 1991 by Patricia Farrell Franklin to conduct research and produce reports on the reuse and recycling of beverage containers, packaging, and printed paper. Today, they educate communities and the government on recycling options suitable for their environment through the results of their research.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives the Container Recycling Institute a perfect score of 100% for Finance and Accountability.

To make North America a global model for the collection and quality recycling of packaging materials.”

Container Recycling Institute

What they do: The Container Recycling Institute focuses on two broad program areas: public education/outreach and research and technical assistance. They produce reliable studies about laws and procedures that encourage communities to recover, repurpose, and recycle garbage. As part of this program, they established a database on the production, disposal, recovery, and recycling of containers domestically and internationally. Furthermore, they educate elected officials, citizen groups, the media, and businesses about recycling choices, thereby debunking myths spread by the manufacturing industry.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, the Container Recycling Institute (CRI) has emerged as a leading authority on recycling and deposit systems for beverage containers. For example, they assisted in the passing of the Connecticut Bottle Bill Expansion legislation to update the state’s beverage container deposit law. This is the most significant bottle bill expansion legislation passed in the US in a decade. Furthermore, thanks to the advocacy efforts of the charity, California has raised their consumer recycling credit budget to more than $100 million annually. 

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to the Container Recycling Institute through their website. You can also join one of their membership packages to receive exclusive access to their cutting-edge research and white papers.

BRING: Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. Rethink.

BRING was founded in 1971 by a group of recycling advocates to take action about waste in the Eugene and Springfield area and ultimately protect the planet. Today, BRING focuses on the pressing challenges of consumption, climate change, and community resilience.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives BRING a score of 96% for Accountability and Transparency. They also earned a gold transparency seal from GuideStar.

To provide vision, leadership, and tools for living well on the planet we share.


What they do: BRING offers activism, business advice, and educational programming programs to help people rethink the way they use and discard things. In addition, the charity operates an online store stocking various salvaged, surplus, and reusable materials for home refurbishment and DIY projects. Furthermore, through certification programs, consulting services, and cutting-edge research, BRING supports businesses in protecting their environment, preserving natural resources, and saving money. In addition, with their Learn program, the charity provides workshops, presentations, and educational resources about waste prevention and recycling to schools and community groups.

What they’ve achieved: Through their extensive K–12 education program, BRING is able to offer free technical support to help Lane County schools make the most of recycling, reuse, and food waste collection options. BRING also started the first conservation education program in Eugene/Springfield, collecting materials for recycling that no one had done before, including milk cartons, e-waste, and stainless steel sinks.

Ways to contribute: You can donate both monetary and material resources directly via the BRING website. You can also support their education programs by shopping at their online store.

Zero Waste Europe (ZWE): Transition to Zero Waste

Zero Waste Europe was founded in 2014 by the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) to establish a network of individuals to eliminate waste from their society in Europe. Today, they give communities the tools they need to rethink how they use resources, adopt smarter lifestyles and more sustainable ways of consuming, and adopt a circular mindset.

Their impact and transparency ratings: According to their financial report, Zero Waste Europe spent 28.8% of their income on strengthening connections and movement building, 26.6% on business structure, 23.2% on policy, and 21.4% on program implementation. 

Zero Waste Europe redesigns our relationship with resources by empowering communities and change-makers across Europe.

Zero Waste Europe

What they do: Zero Waste Europe has three major focus areas to achieve their aim of a zero waste Europe. For example, they work with EU officials to make eco-friendly, toxic-free, and plastic-free menstrual products accessible to those who require them. Furthermore, they mobilize cities, businesses, and investors to implement local zero waste solutions, such as their ReuSe Vanguard Project (RSVP), which aims to transition away from disposal packaging and toward a reuse model. In addition, they organize and mobilize a network of 35 organizations and their immediate networks to facilitate and create campaign movements, such as their Break Free From Plastic (BFFP) initiative. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, Zero Waste Europe has initiated 35 member organizations in 28 countries in Europe to help with the transition to zero waste, thereby representing over 170 local groups. As part of their Zero Waste Cities program, they have worked in over 450 cities and municipalities, implementing a zero waste plan in a city/municipality over an average of 2-3 years. Zero waste cities produce 65 kg less of waste per person per year compared to the rest of Europe.  

Ways to contribute: You can make a general donation directly to Zero Waste Europe on their website or donate specifically to their Environmenstrual Week Campaign. You can also support their work by volunteering or joining one of their campaigns to take action toward a zero waste future.

Global Links: Sharing Surplus. Saving Lives. 

Global Links was founded in 1989 by three individuals to match the demands of public health systems in underserved regions by recycling surplus medical equipment from US hospitals. Today, they develop corporate projects and get in-depth information about the health situation of the areas they serve.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Global links scored 92.92% with a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator. The charity has also earned a platinum seal of transparency from GuideStar.

Sharing surplus rescued from US healthcare system.

Global Links

What they do: Global Links runs a medical surplus recovery program that offers U.S. hospitals and local communities an environmentally responsible alternative to disposing of surplus supplies and furniture by donating them to those in need. Individuals can also donate home surplus medical materials. Also, they run an international medical aid program to invest in projects that improve health in places with few resources, especially in Latin America and the Caribbean. Similarly, their domestic medical aid programs enhance the health, dignity, mobility, and independence of neighboring areas by supporting safety net organizations that assist vulnerable populations in Pennsylvania and the surrounding regions. They also use their community engagement program (outreach and volunteer work) to give people in need a safe and educational place to do practical or virtual services. 

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, Global Links has rescued more than 295 tons of surplus from disposal, donated over 5,410 personal care kits to 48 local organizations, and donated over 1.6 million protective items. Their work has impacted over 1 million lives globally and served over 1,100 local agencies, schools, and childcare centers.

Ways to contribute: You can make monetary donations directly to Global Links on their website, either as a one-time gift or a monthly giving. You can also donate medical supplies and nebulizers.

Soles4souls: Turning Shoes and Clothing into Opportunity

Soles4souls was founded in 2005 by Buddy Tester to give unwanted shoes and clothing a second life by donating them to those in need, thereby keeping them from going to waste. Today, the charity also provides relief, creates jobs, and empowers those living in poverty.

Their impact and transparency ratings: Charity Navigator gives Soles4souls a 4-star rating with a perfect score of 100% on Accountability and Transparency.

We are 4 making a difference.


What they do: Soles4souls’ 4Opportunity program supports small businesses selling donated shoes and clothing to alleviate poverty. Donating these shoes to those in need instead of having them discarded and ending up in landfills is also part of their 4theplanet program to protect the environment. The donations and revenue they get from their projects enable them to empower women in developing countries to start small businesses by selling shoes. Through their relief program, Soles4souls also distributes new shoes and clothing to those in need. Furthermore, the charity gives homeless American children a confident start to the new school year with athletic shoes that they can use for extracurricular activities.

What they’ve achieved: Since their founding, Soles4souls has been able to save over 73 million pairs of shoes and clothing (accounting for over 80 million pounds of textiles) from going to waste in landfills, and these have been distributed in 129 different countries. They have made a total economic impact of over $475 million.

Ways to contribute: You can donate directly to Soles4souls on their website. Shoes and clothing can also be donated via their website. In addition, you can mark the Giving SHOESday on November 29 by donating to provide children with athletic shoes.

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities for recycling. However, you may have a particular charity you want to support. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.

  • Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarize yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.
  • Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission. 
  • Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
  • Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing a charity’s progress in reaching its targets, the chances are they’re not making a substantial positive change.
  • Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
  • Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place. 

How Can You Best Support These Charities?

After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you. 

Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:

  • Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
  • Buy their official merchandise. The charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
  • Donate a percentage of your online purchases. If you bought anything on sites like Amazon lately, you’d find a prompt asking you to donate to your favorite charities through their Amazon Smile program. You can set this up so that your chosen charities will get a fraction of your online purchases.
  • Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
  • Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
  • Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.

Final Thoughts

Now it is up to you to select the charity that resonates most with you. And whichever charity you end up choosing and contributing to, we are sure that they will immensely appreciate your support. Hopefully, the information within this article has made this selection process a bit easier for you to support charities dedicated to recycling – based on the causes that matter most to you.

Stay impactful,

PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:


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Dennis Kamprad

Dennis is the founder of Impactful Ninja and passionate about enabling you to make a positive impact on the world & society. He holds a Master's degree in International Management, started his professional career as a Sustainability Consultant, and has worked on several social projects around the world. Outside of work, he is a passionate salsa dancer, fast runner, and multiple Ironman finisher.

Did you know that the internet is a huge polluter of the environment? But fortunately not this site. This site is powered by renewable energy and all hosting-related CO2 emissions are offset by three times as many renewable energy certificates. Find out all about it here.

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