ANEW: Transforming Surplus into Service
About 6 billion pounds of surplus from commercial demolition are sent to landfills every year, harming the environment. Much of this is reusable. Meanwhile, charities must choose between purchasing furniture or allocating budget to further their good work. Can one situation help the other?
Prior to the formation of ANEW in 2005, sending surplus from demolished commercial space to landfill was standard practice. Well-versed in corporate interior design, construction and furniture manufacturing processes, Rose Tourje CID conducted her career in that context. Though she observed waste occurring on projects that she managed, Tourje assumed that working with industry leaders included a level of responsibility necessary to minimize and take care of the waste. As a progressive CID she designed with an awareness of sustainable materials and processes, utilizing them whenever possible. At this time the US Green Building Council was coming into prominence; public and private sectors were embracing their new approach of building sustainably and realizing the economic, social and environmental benefits.
Then came the day…
Tourje had heard that a public agency in downtown Los Angeles was moving to new LEED Gold space. While walking past their soon-to-be vacated space, Tourje watched in horror as a torrent of furniture & equipment poured out of fifth-floor windows, crashing on the sidewalk below. This continued for several days.
Disturbed by what she’d witnessed, Tourje described the situation and her ideas regarding a solution to her superiors. Though they appreciated the ideas, they had no inclination to implement them. Tourje had reached a point of no return, determined to devise a method of sustainable repurposing. Getting no traction within the industry, she quit her job in protest, compelled to proceed on her own at considerable personal risk and expense. She was certain that something could be done and elected to start up a non-profit offering corporations the benefits (CSR, annual reports, tax receipts, metrics) of diverting surplus from landfill.
Thus Rose Tourje began ANEW. Her peers questioned the wisdom of giving up a high-level position to start a non-profit. Once it was begun, though, a few very senior people were able to see the value in her project; they came forward and wrote their first checks to support ANEW, commending Tourje upon the courage required to do what she’d done.
Seven years into its existence, ANEW is thriving and growing. Each year it diverts over a million pounds from landfill, matching surplus to public agencies, charities, and the underserved; this simple practice helps the environment and strengthens communities. With a sponsor-provided network of 250 service providers, ANEW has a nationwide reach, having served over 500 organizations in 12 countries. All this is accomplished with a staff of four.
Industry leaders in corporate design, construction and furniture manufacturing hold ANEW in the highest regard; many of them are now ANEW sponsors. They count on ANEW to be the neutral resource to guide them through the labyrinth of sustainable practices for their clients.
ANEW, first a pioneer, is now the industry leader, doing what’s right with what’s left®.
More About This Charity
ANEW (Asset Network for Education Worldwide, Inc.)
ANEW, a 501 (C) (3) non-profit organization, exists to provide companies with alternatives for their surplus furniture, fixtures and architectural materials with the priority of matching it to other non-profits, public agencies and underserved communities, thus diverting it from landfill. This simple practice furthers corporate citizenship, social responsibility, and environmental sustainability: Social Sustainability®.
- This charity helped thousands of people in the past year
- Over 7 million pounds diverted from landfill, over 500 charities served, changing the way companies liquidate surplus
United States, Canada