There is no doubt that recycling is a team effort. While individuals are taking extra steps to reduce, reuse, and recycle the products they use every day, businesses must do the same. A number of major international companies are already doing their part with recycling initiatives that allow them to both recycle their own products and keep other items out of the waste stream. From electronics giants to famous apparel brands, here are seven of the most notable companies with innovative recycling programs:
Looking to target the issue of e-waste, Dell has created a policy that enables its customers to dispose of their old electronics in a safe, environmentally friendly way. The company will accept and recycle any of its branded items. Those who have non-Dell electronics may also submit them for recycling, but only if they then purchase one of the company’s branded products. Consumers may drop off their items at affiliate Goodwill locations or mail them to the company with a free shipping label.
Dell’s unique e-waste recycling initiatives do not stop there, however. Through a partnership with the National Cristina Foundation, the company connects customers with charities and schools that could benefit from used electronics. Dell also operates a printer supplies recycling program that allows individuals to bring old printer cartridges to Dell Reconnect sites or Staples office supply stores for safe disposal.
Though known primarily for its line of cleaning products, Method has made a new name for itself in the realm of recycling. The company is looking to reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in the ocean by working with groups who remove plastic from Hawaii’s shores and recycling these materials into eco-friendly bottles. In collaboration with Envision Plastics, Method has developed its innovative Ocean Plastic 2-in-1 Dish + Hand Soap bottle, which uses both ocean plastic and other post-consumer materials. These biodegradable bottles are the first of their kind to use ocean plastic as their main component.
Since initiating the ColorCycle program, Crayola has worked to reuse old art supplies and teach children about the importance of recycling. Any K-12 school may take part in the initiative, which invites students to collect old Crayola markers and send them back to the company. Crayola provides prepaid, printable shipping labels, so schools can participate in the initiative for free. The company uses the returned markers to make a clean-burning fuel. Educators can also use Crayola’s specially designed lesson plans to teach their students about recycling and environmental sustainability.
Nike is shrinking its environmental impact by transforming old sneakers into a new material called Nike Grind. Made of recycled polyester and other reused substances, this new, sustainable material is now used in nearly three-quarters of all Nike products. In addition, the company uses Nike Grind to create durable running tracks, tennis courts, and other surface coverings. Those looking to support Nike in their sustainability efforts may participate by donating their old, worn-out shoes through the company’s Reuse-A-Shoe program.
Famed retailer Levi’s is working with clothing collection firm I:CO to offer a one-of-a-kind recycling garment program. People who wish to dispose of their old clothing and footwear—whether Levi’s brand or not—may take their unwanted items to any of the company’s U.S. stores. In return for their donation, they receive a coupon that awards them 20 percent off their next Levi’s store purchase. I:CO then collects the used clothing and shoes and prepares them for recycling if they cannot be reused.
Another company that is tackling ocean plastic pollution is Adidas. The company has made a huge recycling impact thanks to a partnership with Parley for the Oceans, which recovers plastic from the sea. With the help of the organization, Adidas has developed a line of sustainable footwear called the Parley series. As of May 2017, the line includes three versions of the company’s UltraBoost shoe, which is made of reclaimed ocean plastic. By the end of the year, Adidas hopes to manufacture one million of these shoes. With each UltraBoost shoe requiring 11 bottles to make, this would help remove 11 million bottles from the ocean.
The Parley series is far from Adidas’ first sustainable venture. In the past, the company has created smaller, limited product lines made of recycled polyester. Adidas also previously used recovered ocean plastic in their soccer uniforms.
In collaboration with Haws and TerraCycle, Brita has made it easier than ever for its customers to recycle their used water bottles and filters. Once they’ve collected five pounds of old Brita products, people can pack them in a box, print out a complimentary shipping label, and mail them to TerraCycle for safe recycling. The company recycles the Brita products into new plastic items, such as outdoor seating and watering cans. The materials in the Brita filters are converted into energy.