Local businesses are important assets to any neighborhood. At the Neighboring Movement we connect with a local business using an interview guide to discover the gifts, assets, and focus of their work. If you'd like to interview a business in your neighborhood feel free to use this format. You can download our interview guide here.
I've never thought about a recycling center as a place for joyful rejuvenation, but I have to admit, just like their sign says, I did feel better after visiting the PRoKansas nonprofit recycling center.
PRoKansas is a non-profit recycling center located at 725 E. Clark. You can also visit them online at prokansasrecycling.org or through their Facebook page. With only 1.5 employees this business' lifeblood is a community of dedicated volunteers who believe in the mission to increase recycling awareness, education, and participation in the Wichita area.
PRoKansas started in 2001 and resides in an old manufacturing building in the SoCe neighborhood. In the last year, they processed 1000 tons of recycling including 10% plastic, 70% paper, 18% glass, and 2% cans.
While there I got to meet with Nathan and Robert, the two employees who keep the Recycling Center going each week. Their enthusiasm for the work was infectious. As they shared more I realized recycling was only part of the passion; PRoKansas' real gift to the world is community.
Beyond recycling the center includes an education center where they host classes for groups touring the facility. In another corner of the building, books line a half dozen bookshelves. It's called Gordon's Book Nook, in memory of a dedicated volunteer. The entire library is available for people to take books free and return when they are done, or to add the book to their own collection.
Most people who bring recycling to the center do so during the times they are open to the public including Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1-4pm and Saturdays from 9am-3pm. According to Nathan, the majority of these people not only bring recycling they also sort and volunteer with the center.
Other volunteers include community service volunteers and community groups for developmentally disabled. Together all of these people are helping keep trash out of landfills and building a place where common cause allows relationships to flourish.
If you'd like to help PRoKansas here are some things you might consider.
- Volunteer! Help sort the recycling. Call 316-269-1359
- Set up a recycling program at your work. They would love to increase commercial partners. They don't have a way to do pick up so partnerships will take a dedicated volunteer to deliver the recycling, but it's FREE!
- Share the joy of recycling with your children or grandchildren. Robert, who has worked at the center for over a decade, told me that is favorite thing is to see young people enjoying the recycling center.
- Make use of their educational programs or sign up to get a tour at the center. You can contact their volunteer education director at firstname.lastname@example.org.