Eco-Cycle is a non-profit, mission-based social enterprise that uses revenues to build Zero Waste communities.
What is a social enterprise?
A social enterprise uses business strategies and principles to meet a social or environmental mission. Eco-Cycle fills a community need for Zero Waste services and programs using mission-based business activities, including hauling recyclable and compostable materials from businesses and innovating and operating Zero Waste facilities such as the Boulder County Recycling Center (BCRC) and the Center for Hard-to-Recycle Materials (CHaRM). We then use revenues from these activities to fund our Zero Waste operations, education, outreach, and advocacy work in the community.
How does the non-profit “social enterprise” approach differ from a for-profit entity?
The difference lies in two areas: 1) the reason the company exists, and 2) where the revenues and profits go.
A for-profit business may be philanthropic with some of its revenues and will be rewarded with a tax deduction. But ultimately, all profits must go to their owners and financial shareholders because that is the reason the company exists—to make profits.
A non-profit social enterprise exists to fulfill a social and/or environmental mission, and 100 percent of any profits made are spent to further the mission.