7 Things You Need to Do to Start an Office Recycling Program

There is no denying that offices generate a large amount of waste. Each day, employees use everything from drink containers to electronic equipment, all of which will ultimately end up in the waste stream. An even bigger offender is paper, which makes up the majority of all office waste.

However, the good news is that the vast majority of all office waste is recyclable. You and your team can easily take charge of your office waste by establishing a recycling program.

In order to make the most out of this initiative, however, you will need to do the following:

  1. Select your committee.

group meetingYour office recycling program won’t be able to make it off of the ground without the right team. However, before you can start picking people to be on your committee, you will need to enlist the help of the higher-ups. If you are a manager, then you should contact the building manager, your own boss, or even the company CEO to gauge their support for the program.

Once you have the green light, you should begin assembling your recycling team by choosing someone to be the leader. This person should have the ability to organize the entire program and work seamlessly with other team members. When selecting the remainder of the committee, you should make sure to include employees from different departments. These individuals will play a critical role in keeping their respective teams up to date with emerging program developments.

  1. Conduct research.

With your team in place, you will need to do research to determine what type of recycling program your office will require. You should start by conducting an audit of your company’s current waste management system. Doing so will allow you to carefully assess what types of waste you produce and how much of it you throw away. As part of this assessment, you will also need to conduct a review of your office trash cans. Knowing where they are located and how well employees are using them will help you create a recycling program that addresses any current shortcomings.

If your recycling committee needs assistance with the waste audit, then you should consider enlisting the help of outside entities. Though some municipalities offer free waste assessment services to nearby businesses, you may need to hire a recycling collector or special consultant.

  1. Pick a hauler.

garbage truck

Unless you plan on transporting your office’s recyclables directly to your local facility, you will need to work with a local recycling company. Your first step should be to contact the complex in which your office is situated to see if any other tenants receive recycling services. If this is the case, you can easily arrange for collection at your own office. If not, then you will need to select a hauler that will serve only your workplace. Try contacting your existing waste management center to see if it offers recycling services. Otherwise, you should consider using a local commercial or independent hauler.

  1. Acquire the necessary equipment.

Your recycling program won’t be a success unless you obtain all the equipment that your office will need. As a result of completing your waste audit, you should have a good estimate of how many bins you will need to place around the workplace. While you can purchase pre-made recycling containers from local stores, you should first determine whether your recycling collector will provide you with receptacles.

Once you have your bins, you should make sure to place them in optimal locations. You should pair all trash cans with recycling bins, especially if they are in locations that employees frequently visit. To provide your workers with even easier access to a recycling bin, you should place one at every desk.

  1. Establish goals.

Before launching your office recycling program, you will need to formulate a plan that enables you to set attainable goals. Where you would like the office to be in terms of sustainability in six months or one year from now? Depending on your office’s unique goals, you might have to start off with a small program that includes only one or two recyclables and expand it over time.

  1. Get everyone involved.

group meeting

When it comes time to kick off your recycling program, you will need to make sure that everyone in the office is on board. You should help the program start off strong by hosting a launch event for the whole team. During this time, you can educate staff members about the program and how they can participate. You should also take this time to hand out reusable coffee mugs and recycling equipment to your team. To generate additional excitement about the program, you can host fun activities that inform your team about recycling and increase their enthusiasm about being involved.

  1. Monitor and congratulate success.

As your office recycling plan flourishes, it is important that you keep all staff members involved by informing everyone of its success. Whenever you hit one of your program’s goals, you should send out a memo to the entire company to inform people of your collective progress. You can even engage the local community by publishing press releases about your recycling achievements.

An even better way to continually promote your office recycling initiative is to recognize and congratulate the individuals who have helped make it a success. For example, you can honor those who make the largest contributions to the recycling program with a personalized letter from the CEO, a special recycling award, or a public announcement at an upcoming meeting.

What Happens to Materials During the Recycling Process?

If you recycle on a regular basis, then you understand the steps that you must take to get materials from your home to the recycling bin. But what happens to your glass, metals, and plastics once collectors take them away? Though you may never witness it, each material undergoes a unique process to ensure that it can once again re-enter the product stream as new items. Read on to take a closer look at five of the most common recyclables and what happens to them during the recycling process:


plastic beverage cupUpon arrival at the recycling facility, workers wash plastics to remove any labeling or other possible contaminants. Next, the facility sorts each type of plastic into a separate category. For example, all PET plastics—such as water bottles—go into a group of their own. After isolating each plastic type, the facility breaks each material down into smaller pieces. To this end, they load the plastics into shredding machines that tear them into flakes or chips.

Next, the facility heats the pieces until they melt and then reshapes them into small pellets or fibers. The final step involves sending these recycled plastics to manufacturers who use them to create brand-new products, such as furniture, insulation, and carpeting.


glass containersAfter consumers place their glass recyclables for collection or bring them to recycling plants themselves, workers begin the process of organizing these materials by color. Some facilities may, however, skip this step by requiring local consumers to pre-sort their glass into groups of clear, brown, and green containers.

Recycling workers then wash all separated glass pieces to rid them of debris and run them through special machinery that compresses them into a material called cullet. After combining this substance with limestone, sand, and soda ash, workers place the entire mixture into a furnace for melting. Recycling plants can use the resulting material to create new containers or other glass products. The durability of glass makes it possible to repeat the recycling process an infinite number of times.


metalAll metals typically fall into one of two categories: ferrous (combinations of carbon and iron) and non-ferrous. The former group consists of materials such as iron, wrought iron, and steel. The latter contains aluminum, copper, and tin, as well as precious metals like silver and gold. Most recycling centers process non-ferrous metals, many of which originate in the homes of consumers. However, iron and steel top the list of the world’s most recycled materials. This is due to how easy it is to get these materials from demolished buildings and scrap yards. In fact, almost 40 percent of all crude steel production uses recycled steel products.

Once the metals arrive at the recycling facility, workers separate them by category using specialized magnets. After inspecting each item to determine its quality, they wash the metals using water or chemicals to rid them of their paint and any protective coatings. Facility workers then shred the metal items and feed the pieces into designated furnaces for melting. When these materials reach a liquid state, workers pour them into molds that will allow them to cool into an oblong-shaped block called an ingot. The recycling process ends when workers transform these ingots into large, malleable sheets of metal and send them to manufacturers for reuse.


paperWhen consumers place their paper recyclables into their curbside bins, collectors transport them to the local recycling facility, where workers sort them into different groups depending on their grade and type. The paper must then enter the “pulping” stage, during which time workers filter it through a mill. As it combines with water, the paper separates from any glue, ink, or other non-paper elements and transforms into a slurry-like material. Recycling workers then process this pulp several more times to fully prepare it for reuse. During this step, they can also add in various elements that will turn the pulp into different types of paper, like cardboard. They then use the paper slurry to create large sheets, which they let dry before rolling and shipping them off to their final destination.


old phoneIn order to prevent old mobile phones, computers, and other electronics from ending up in landfills, recycling centers must send these items must undergo numerous recycling steps. This process begins when the facility sorts each electronic item and separates it from its battery components. Workers must then begin taking each electronic apart by hand, a step that involves retrieving the most important parts and classifying each one by type. In some cases, certain components, such as circuit boards and batteries, must go to special processing facilities.

After dismantling, facility workers must break down any item that people cannot easily re-use into pieces that are no larger than 2 inches. Recycling facilities require these e-waste pieces to go through another step of disassembly, which ensures the removal of all dust particles. After further separating of materials using magnets, water, or a combination of both, facilities then send the salvaged items off for reuse. Metal components such as tin and copper go to smelting facilities that safely recycle them.

7 Major Companies with the Most Innovative Recycling Programs

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:

  1. Dell

Dell logoLooking 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.

  1. Method

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.

  1. Crayola

crayola logoSince 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.

  1. Nike

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.

  1. Levi’s

Levi's LogoFamed 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.

  1. Adidas

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.

  1. Brita

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.

7 of the Most Sustainable Alternatives to Plastic

Plastics are all around us, inside nearly every product that we come into contact with in our daily lives. Manufacturers favor this material because it can last for years and is easy to mold into practically any form. Despite these benefits, however, plastic can also harm the environment. Not only is it created from fossil fuels, but it is also difficult to recycle much of the time. As a result, researchers have begun to develop sustainable alternatives that will reduce our dependence on traditional plastic. Read on to learn more about seven of the best plastic substitutes.

  1. Liquid wood

A unique type of biopolymer (also known as bioplastic), liquid wood offers both the appearance and function of traditional plastic, but without the harmful environmental effects. The base of this material is lignin, a byproduct that comes from paper mills. To create liquid wood, manufacturers take lignin and combine it with water before placing it in an environment with extreme heat and pressure. This transforms the lignin into a composite substance that is flexible enough for the manufacturer to form into any shape, but also highly durable. Already, scientists from Germany have used liquid wood to create children’s toys and containers for speakers.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of liquid wood, however, is that it is completely biodegradable. It is also easy to recycle, since it is made from wood byproducts. As such, liquid wood is quickly becoming the go-to alternative for many traditional petroleum-based plastics.

  1. Silicone

Image by Didriks | Flickr

Some companies are also using silicone in lieu of plastic when looking to create more eco-friendly products. Much like rubber, silicone shares many of the same characteristics of plastic, including its pliability and capability to resist both heat and water. However, it boasts a durability that is far greater than plastic, which makes it excellent for numerous applications, particularly in the healthcare field and in manufacturing.

Silicone can also make an excellent alternative for household plastics such as plastic wrap. One company, Lekue, uses silicone to create a range of sustainable food storage lids. These products maintain their flexibility across multiple uses and do not absorb food odors. Silicone can substitute for numerous other plastic-based products, including baby bottle nipples and insulation.

  1. Glass

In the past, most people used glass containers to hold their drinks and food products. Though the world has moved on in favor of plastic, glass remains the more sustainable alternative. As opposed to plastic, glass is made from sand, which makes it free of potentially harmful chemicals. Moreover, glass can undergo the process of recycling an infinite number of times. This makes it easy for manufacturers to turn old glass into new bottles and other products. In addition, people can easily reuse glass bottles and containers for any number of purposes. Glass products may cost more than their plastic counterparts, but they last longer and have a smaller environmental footprint.

  1. Starch-based plants

Over the years, starchy plants have become another popular source for sustainable plastics. The most commonly used material is corn, which manufacturers can process into a polyester called polylactic acid (PLA). As its name suggests, this material is made from the lactic acid produced when corn undergoes wet milling. Using PLAs, manufacturers can create virtually any product or packaging that would normally be made of plastic. These polymers are particularly beneficial because of their ability to fully biodegrade within a span of 47 days under industrial composting conditions. They also do not let off toxic fumes when they burn.

Corn is not the only starch-based plant that can create effective plastic substitutes. Over the years, researchers have developed polymers out of sugarcane, beets, and potatoes.

  1. Milk protein

Taking a cue from the starch-based plastic alternatives, a team of researchers from the US Department of Agriculture has developed a method for creating a unique film out of milk proteins. In particular, they are focusing on the protein casein, which is found in abundance in milk. Though casein-based plastics have existed for more than 100 years, these materials have been far too fragile to serve as more than a substitute for rare jewelry components such as ivory.


By adding citrus pectin and glycerol to casein, however, the USDA researchers have been able to develop a sturdy, but fully biodegradable plastic alternative. Moreover, this material is edible, which means that packaging made from it could be entirely removed from the waste stream.

  1. Chicken feathers

Chicken feathers may seem like an unlikely plastic substitute, but US researchers have developed a means of transforming them into fully biodegradable plastics. In order to reduce billions of pounds of chicken feathers going to landfills each year, the research team sought to amplify the durability of the keratin in the feathers. When combined with methyl acrylate, keratin transformed into a plastic-like substance that was virtually tear-proof. Fully biodegradable and taken from a renewable source, chicken feather plastics are one of the most eco-friendly plastic substitutes.

  1. Biodegradable plastics

There are also a number of biodegradable plastics available that are helping to reduce the world’s dependence on traditional plastics. One such product is made by Tipa Corp, which took inspiration from the orange peel in their quest to create sustainable packaging. Looking to create a packaging solution that mirrored the biodegradability and protective nature of the orange skin, the company used a unique blend of polymers and other bio-materials to make a flexible, compostable plastic substitute.

What You Need to Know about Composting

In recent years, composting has become an increasingly popular method of diverting organic materials from landfills and recycling them into nutrients for gardens. If you are looking to start composting at your home, then you will need to understand how it works, how to start, and how to successfully maintain your pile. You can compost with ease by adhering to the following tips:

Know where and how to start.

In order to make the most out of your compost pile, you will need to know how to start one and where to put it. The optimal location for a compost pile is outside on the ground, preferably in a flat spot that contains ample drainage. This will enable organisms such as worms to enter the pile and begin breaking down the materials contained within them.


Once you select a location, you will need to determine how you will begin building your compost pile. To expedite the process of biodegradation, you should aim for a pile that is 3 feet in depth, height, and width. You can build your own basic compost container out of materials such as wood pallets, trash receptacles, and cinderblocks. Otherwise, you should consider purchasing one of the numerous styles of ready-made bins available on the market. They are typically available in one of two styles: stationary and tumbler. Simply do some research to see which type of bin will best suit your composting needs.

Add the right materials.

Once you have a compost bin set up, you will need to begin filling it. As such, you must understand the various do’s and don’ts of what to add to your compost pile. You can put all manner of kitchen scraps and yard trimmings into your pile. “Greens” such as peels from produce, plant trimmings, and tea bags all make great additions to a compost bin because they degrade quickly and add a good amount of nitrogen to the pile. You will also need to add carbon-filled “browns” to your compost pile. This category includes everything from eggshells and animal fur to dried leaves and paper. You can also add waste from farmyard animals to your compost pile to incorporate even more nutrients.

When building your compost pile, you should also remain mindful of those items and materials that you should never add. You should keep anything from the meat and dairy categories out of the compost bin and put it in the trash can. Although you can incorporate some plants and trimmings, you should not add any type of weeds to your pile. Moreover, you should never add pet waste, as this can invite pests into your compost bin.

Shred what you plan to compost.


It’s not enough to simply pack all of your compost into a large pile. In order to help the materials break down more quickly, you will need to make sure that your bin has proper aeration. To this end, you will need to shred or cut most of the materials that you plan to compost. This is a particularly important step to take when you are adding brown materials such as paper, cardboard, and leaves to your pile. These items are inherently more difficult to break down, so cutting them into smaller pieces will hasten the composting process. When in doubt, remember that smaller is better. Make sure that all items are 2 inches or shorter before putting them into your compost pile.

Maintain the right balance.

When looking to create the best-quality compost, you will need to create a perfect balance of green and brown materials. If you add too much of one type of material, then your entire pile may fail to degrade. In order to provide the best environment for composting, you should create an almost equal ratio of materials throughout the pile.

When you initially build your pile, you should add greens and browns in thin layers to ensure a proper balance. As your compost pile continues to grow, you should incorporate these two types of material together. This will help maintain the balance of moisture and allow for more airflow.

Monitor the moisture.

Moisture plays a large role in the decomposition of your compost. As such, you will need to closely monitor the consistency of your mixture to determine whether it is too wet or too dry. A proper balance of green and brown materials will help your compost remain moist, but you may also need to add water to it on a regular basis. In general, you should aim for a moisture composition of between 50 and 60 percent.

Turn it frequently.

As your compost breaks down, you will need to regularly turn it to keep it aerated, moist, and well mixed. Some use a compost tumbler to make this process easier, but you can also use garden tools such as shovels or pitchforks. You should turn your compost every one to two weeks. However, you can better judge when it is the right time to turn your compost by monitoring its internal temperature. As the microorganisms within work to decompose the materials, the compost will reach temperatures of between 140 and 170 degrees Fahrenheit. At this time, you should turn the materials to help the entire pile decompose more quickly

7 Ways to Pursue a Zero-Waste Lifestyle

In the United States alone, each person creates nearly 5 pounds of waste on a daily basis. However, there are some individuals who strive to bring that total down to zero. They are part of what is known as the zero-waste movement, an initiative that is encouraging consumers to think about the waste that they produce and take the necessary steps to eradicate it from their lives. Read on to explore seven ways that you can embark on your own journey toward zero-waste living:

  1. Avoid disposable kitchen products.

food storageYou can easily reduce your dependence on common disposable kitchen products by opting for a few eco-friendly alternatives. When it comes to kitchen waste, one of the chief culprits is food storage. If you currently use plastic containers to store your leftovers, then you should consider swapping them out for those made of stainless steel or glass, which will reduce the amount of plastic waste that you produce.

If you want to live waste-free, there are a number of other disposables that you should try to avoid. Try swapping plastic sandwich bags with reusable containers and dish sponges for a more eco-friendly lifestyle. You can also eliminate your dependence on aluminum foil by purchasing reusable fabrics and silicone sheets that you can use for food storage and cooking.

  1. Keep cloth products at the ready.

You can take a major step toward zero-waste living by using cloth products instead of paper ones. For example, you can consider swapping paper napkins for cloth versions. You can even find organic ones if you want to be truly eco-friendly.
It is also important that you completely eliminate paper towels from your home. Instead, you should always use kitchen towels, rags, or handkerchiefs for all your cleaning and drying needs. Handkerchiefs are also essential for when you are on the go. Keep one in your pocket for those times when you need to dry your hands or blow your nose.

  1. Refuse items that you don’t need.

Refusing what you know you don’t need is essential to eliminating all manner of waste from your life. The first step that you should take is to refuse any junk mail that your postal carrier brings by each week. The various publications and fliers that you receive are a drain on natural resources. To minimize the demand for these items, you should search for websites and programs that will allow you to opt out of receiving junk mail.


Similarly, you should always resist the temptation to bring home free items from your office or any events that you attend. Building up a collection of free pens will only create more waste in the end.

  1. Bring reusables when shopping.

You can follow the trend of abandoning plastic bags by bringing reusable totes with you whenever you go shopping. Many consumers keep these sustainable grocery bags in their cars to ensure that they will always be on hand for trips to the supermarket. In order to eliminate plastic bag waste, you will need to bring additional totes on shopping trips. For produce, you should use bags made of cotton mesh or another lightweight fabric instead of reaching for the plastic equivalent.

  1. Purchase items in bulk.

You can eliminate a reliance on pre-packaged items by purchasing them in bulk. Simply bring your own cloth bags or glass jars to use as storage when you pick out rice, flour, and other dry items that you need from the bulk bins at the grocery store. In addition, you should purchase important cleaning items such as laundry detergent and soap in bulk to avoid using too much plastic packaging.

  1. Make common household items yourself.

Instead of purchasing household items with excessive packaging, you can minimize waste by making a number of them right at home. With a little research, you can find recipes that will teach you how to make everything from moisturizer to cosmetics. You can even forego toothpaste by creating your own tooth cleaning powder. Another common source of disposable packaging is food. You should consider making your own bread, cereal, and canned produce to reduce this type of waste.

soda bread

  1. Take charge of your wardrobe.

When it comes to your clothes, you can reduce your waste in a number of ways. On shopping trips, you should always choose pre-owned clothing whenever possible. Not only will this help reduce the need for tags and packaging, but it will minimize the carbon emissions that the clothing industry creates throughout the production and transportation of new products. When you need to buy new items, you should always choose clothing with the least amount of packaging. In addition, it is important to purchase high-quality products instead of cheaper versions. These items will last longer and eliminate the need to purchase multiples of the same type of clothing.

Repairing and reusing your old clothing is another excellent way to live waste-free. To make the most out of your wardrobe, you should work with a local tailor or learn to sew. This will enable you to hem, re-fit, and fix old clothes to keep them looking brand new for years to come. When garments become too frayed, you can cut them up and use them as rags around the house. Otherwise, you should always donate any clothes that you no longer want or need instead of tossing them into the trash.

You Need to Know About These Innovative Recycling Startups

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)

green toys logoWith 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)

PomPom logoEntrepreneurs 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)

evrnu logoThe 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.

Indosole (Indonesia)

indosole logoIndonesia 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)

ecoport logoSince 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.

Garbags (Portugal)

garbags logoPortugal-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.