EUGENE, Ore. — The Eugene Mission is expanding services, allowing the nonprofit to assist more clients with food, shelter and clothing, but now the mission is preparing to cut a major program.
Come June, the Eugene Mission is cutting its recycling program.
Long before there was the red box for DVDs came the red box for collecting newspapers, magazines and phone books. The Eugene Mission began its recycling program in the 1960s. To date, there are close to 1,000 boxes at approximately 600 locations. After 50 years, the program is coming to a close.
It comes down to economics. At the height of the recycling program, the Eugene Mission collected 400 tons of newspapers each month. A profit maker, it provided 50 percent of its operating budget. That was in the ’90s.
Since then, prices for recycled paper have decreased. Collections have dwindled while expenses to collect the papers like gas have gone up.
“A couple years ago we hit the breaking point and now we will go into the red if we continue and that’s just not good stewardship,” said Dana Eck, Senior Director of Operations.
Doing away with the program opens up new opportunities. For Eugene Mission clients who assist with collections, they can sign up for a new one-year Life Change Program still working at the mission while receiving assistance to improve their lives like addiction therapy, employment assistance and GED attainment.
It’s still not clear how the Eugene Mission will utilize the newspaper recycling center. The goal is create a project where clients can learn life skills, earn wages and turn a profit.
First up is turning in the red boxes. Recycling service ends June 15. The Eugene Mission will collect the boxes or you can keep your box are your business or church for donation of $50.
Many of you might be familiar with the green truck that used to roll down the street picking up those newspapers. Starting June 1, it’s going to be auctioned off in a silent auction to benefit the new Life Change Program.