2010 Annual Report

When I first started this non-profit in May 2009, the most proffered advice was about how hard it would be to get tax exempt status. That turned out to be the easy part.

In 6 months we received tax exempt status to operate as a community focused non-profit. A fantastic benefit that I hope will bear fruit in the years to come.

The hard part became the most important part: learning how to impact change.

This topic is very controversial in the non-profit world. Some would say that you need a large national issue that can attract great attention,  and therefore great money and volunteers. Others, would say that you have to choose one issue and stick with it, over the years consistently building your reputation, influence, and donor base.

Most of the non-profits you know probably fall into one of these two categories.

Neither worked for me and so I went out searching for an alternative and found a movement instead. One that is fundamentally altering America at a grassroots level with success after success.

At the forefront of this movement is Yvon Chouinard, founder of the clothing company Patagonia. In his book, Let My People Go Surfing, he lays out the mindset, methodology, and most importantly the past experiences (failures) that led him to this way of thinking.

It is a fascinating discussion on business  and I definitely recommend reading the book. Also, if you purchase the book ($10) through the above link, a portion of the sale goes to A Clean Life.

A one sentence description of this method that is so packed with meaning you may have to read it twice:

“We fund at the grassroots level because we believe that action-oriented groups living and working close to the issue are the most effective at fighting for change.”

That’s exactly my focus.

In the upcoming year, we will be taking on local projects, invite in locals deeply involved in those issues, and provide them the support and funding they need to create change. The projects will be short term, although some may take years, because it’s important to have an achievable goal that everyone works, and fights for.

More to come on that to come in the strategic plan, but now time for the financials.

Income Statement

Revenues

$2,179.92 – Received as donations

Expenses

$2,120.26 – Itemized:

  • $750 – IRS fee, formation of a 501(c)3 non-profit
  • $30 – Incorporation Fee in CA
  • $56.14 – purchase website domains
  • $72 – website hosting fees
  • $170 – DC Farmers Markets Brochures
  • $175.43 – outdoor compost, backyard
  • $48.64 – indoor compost, buckets
  • $319 – indoor compost, automatic
  • $113.67 – outdoor compost, for apartments balconies
  • $62 – 6×3 banner of A Clean Life logo
  • $313.38 – event hosting fees, launch party & family/friends event

Assets

$59.66

Taxes

A great benefit to having a small non-profit means not all that much paperwork.

The established tax year for us is from Jun to May, and anytime after June (within 5 months) I submit my tax paperwork to the IRS (a postcard) and the State of CA (a few sheets). It takes no time at all, makes keeping the books simple/easy, and frees me up to get back out in the community.

Conclusion

I kept this post fluid but included all information needed to understand the operations of A Clean Life. This includes our revenues/expenses/assets, tax year, tax information, and operating strategy.

I expect that in years to come writing this won’t be so easy, so I will sign off here and enjoy the ease at which we currently operate.

Washington DC Recycling Study

Thx much to Amy Senger for snagging this shaggy bit

Good news. Washington DC you are recycling newspaper, cardboard, and bottles at higher than the national rate.

Bad news. Washington DC you only recycle 18% of your trash when 36% of your trash is recyclable. This is costing the district an extra $250k and unduly burdening the environment.

2008 Residential Waste Report

Those were the findings of the latest Recycling report from the Department of Public Works for DC. The report (linked below) closely examined the trash stream to get some hard numbers. This included examining collections of trash in all 8 wards in DC.

The most striking number in the report and its conclusion was that 1 in 5 items thrown out could have been recycled (22%). The straight costs of trash are $60/ton for trash and $25/ton for recycling. If each resident were to recycle a little bit more then perhaps we could get closer to our potential 36% recycling rate mentioned above.

2008 Residential Waste Sort Report (pdf)

What You can Throw in the Blue Bin

Here is a list of items you can recycle pulled from the DPW recycling site:

  • Aerosol cans
  • Aluminum foil and aluminum pie pans
  • Aluminum food and beverage containers
  • Books (including paperbacks, textbooks, and hardbacks)
  • Brown paper bags (Kraft)
  • Cardboard and paperboard boxes (including cereal boxes without liners)
  • Computer printouts
  • Corrugated cardboard boxes
  • Ferrous and bimetal food and beverage containers
  • Glass containers such as jars and bottles
  • Junk mail
  • Magazines and catalogs
  • Milk and juice cartons
  • Narrow-neck plastic containers (other than for motor oil) that carry plastic resin identification codes 1 through 7
  • Newspapers (including all inserts)
  • Non-metallic wrapping paper
  • Office paper (including typing, fax, copy, letterhead, and NCR) and envelopes
  • Plastic bags, e.g., grocery bags, newspaper bags, and shopping bags. Please put your plastic bags into one plastic bag then place it in your recycling container. We will accept more than one bag of plastic bags.
  • Rigid plastics including plastic milk/soda crates, plastic buckets with metal handles, plastic laundry baskets, plastic lawn furniture, plastic totes, plastic drums, plastic coolers, plastic flower pots, plastic drinking cups/glasses, plastic 5-gallon water bottles, plastic pallets, plastic toys, and empty plastic garbage/recycling bins
  • Telephone books
  • Wide-mouth containers such as peanut butter, margarine/butter tubs, yogurt, cottage, cheese, yogurt, sour cream, mayonnaise, whipped topping, and prescription (remove the identification label) and over-the-counter medicine bottles. (note that the lids and caps do not need to be removed.) Please do not include Styrofoam meat trays, lunch “clamshells” or foam packaging, such as “peanuts.”

Commercial Recycling

Whoa, you made it this far…thx for being our best readers.

Did you know that fully 70% of the waste produced in Washington DC comes from commercial business?

I didn’t either. The district throws out 800,000 tons of trash and business are the largest wasters. Thankfully the District passed a law in 1988 requiring all business to do some recycling.

Unfortunately, the rest is up to business people. The business is required to have cans on-site and required to put only correct items in those cans. With fines for not doing so…but will people actually do so?

They should. Each business has to pay directly for trash pick-up (so do HOA’s) and recycling costs less than normal trash. It is economical and fulfilling to do so. All the reasons are there…

I could not find any reports examining the actual recycling rate in commercial locations, just this helpful recycling guide:

Commercial Recycling Guide (pdf)

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