As more consumers turn to sustainable living, they are also looking to purchase from companies that share a similar dedication to the environment. In recent years, entrepreneurs from across the globe have begun to cater to this growing market by establishing eco-friendly startups. Many of these business owners have focused on recycling, which enables them to reuse old products in creative ways and help consumers to reduce the waste that they produce. Read on to explore a few of the innovative recycling startups that you should know about:
Green Toys (United States)
With facilities in San Francisco and Chicago, Green Toys is uniquely positioned to deliver its eco-friendly products to consumers across the United States. The startup is helping to eliminate milk jugs and other post-consumer plastics from the national recycling stream by using them to create all manner of tableware and children’s toys. As of 2016, Green Toys had used more than 45 million milk jugs in its products.
Green Toys’ manufacturing process begins with material recovery. After cleaning the milk jugs that it receives, the startup shreds them into small flakes so that it can process them for production. With the addition of safe food coloring, the plastics are ready to find new life as toys such as train sets, vehicles, and play kitchen pieces. Not only are these products sustainable, but they are also free from harmful toxins.
POM POM (India)
Entrepreneurs Deepak Sethi and Kishor K. Thakur established POM POM in an effort to accommodate the recycling needs of over 1 million people in South Delhi. Looking to make it more convenient for locals to recycle, the startup allows its clients to arrange for the pickup of any type of recyclable.
Through the POM POM website or mobile application, consumers can book collection services in a few simple steps. First, they must input the approximate weight of each material that they wish to recycle. After then inputting the pickup location, they will be able to select from a list of available time slots throughout the day. During collection, POM POM’s recycling representatives will digitally weigh each material to gauge the value and provide immediate compensation to the client. The system both simplifies the process of recycling for South Delhi residents and provides valuable incentives to those who participate.
Evrnu (United States)
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates that Americans dispose of more than 13 million textiles every year. Of this total, 85 percent goes to landfills. The team behind the Seattle-based Evrnu has sought to reduce the amount of textile waste by recycling old clothes into brand-new fiber. Using its patented system, the startup takes solid textiles and turns them into a liquid that it then presses through a filter. The process generates a pure thread while using less water and fewer CO2 emissions than it typically takes to produce new cotton and polyester fibers. As a result, Evrnu has built a system that provides a sustainable outlook for the future of textile recycling and creation.
Indonesia is known for its abundance of disposed motorcycle tires, which typically end up in landfills, rivers, and other dumping sites. While many developing countries opt to burn these materials to create fuel, this creates dangerous emissions. Recognizing the harmful environmental effects of these practices, Indonesian startup Indosole is saving tires and recycling them into sustainable footwear. The startup works directly with tire brokers to obtain the materials they need to create soles for shoes and sandals. During the manufacturing process, Indosole’s team carefully cuts each tire into a shape that will fit onto the bottom of a shoe. They then pair each sole with an artisan-crafted upper and adhere it using hammers, glue, and heat. With the addition of an insole, each piece of footwear is then ready for sale. Through this work, Indosole hopes to recycle 1 million tires that would have otherwise gone to landfills or been burned.
EcoPort (Hong Kong)
Since its inception in 2014, EcoPort has become one of the leading recycling entities in Hong Kong. Pairing sustainability with technology, the startup is making it easier than ever for the city’s residents and businesses to recycle. Through EcoPort, local consumers can request a wide range of recycling services such as on-demand collection and recycling bin drop-off. To help its clients monitor their environmental impact, the startup also allows them to connect to their own unique Waste Dashboard. This useful tool shows them how much waste they create, how much they recycle, and where it goes.
In order to encourage more people to recycle, EcoPort also focuses much of its work on the realm of education. To this end, the startup regularly sponsors recycling events in the local community and works with schools to develop better educational tools for students.
Portugal-based Garbags is dedicated to minimizing the amount of waste that goes into landfills. After spending years researching and testing new ways to recycle common household materials, the startup has developed a product line that allows it to breathe new life into used drink containers, toothpaste holders, coffee cans, and other packaging materials.
Garbags works with both locals and its network of green business partners, both of whom regularly donate their recycled packaging. Through the upcycling process, the startup turns these materials into useful products such as backpacks and bicycle storage bags. To date, Garbags has helped divert more than 170,000 packages from landfills.