By definition, a circular economy is a term for an industrial economy that is by design or intention, restorative. With over 7 billion people on the planet, reuse has never been more important as the population swells and natural resources become exhausted from our daily demands. Droughts in California and water pollution crowd the headlines, but creating awareness without shaming and making consciousness cool, are what a few businesses are trying to do to break bad habits.
According to New Jersey-based Terracycle, a business that makes consumer products from pre-consumer and post-consumer waste, 99% of the total material flow in the US becomes garbage within six months. Founder Tom Szaky says it is important to note that from a strictly material or scientific standpoint, everything can be recycled. The only barrier to something being considered “recyclable” in our society is economics. “For-profit waste management companies are allowed to define what is recyclable based on what is profitable for them to collect. That is why our recycling system is broken,” says Szaky.
Cigarettes, baby diapers, cheese wrappers and more find a second life through TerraCycle by people simply taking the time to get rid of waste they create on a regular basis. Enlisting in-house teams to separate cigarette waste into its most basic components, the organic waste (ash, tobacco and paper) can be used in tobacco-specific compost, while the plastic (the filter) can be re-heated, extruded, and turned back into plastic pellets. Recycled plastic pellets like these mitigate the need for virgin plastics, and can be used to make ashtrays or industrial products such as shipping pallets.
Sexy? Not necessarily, but with programmes catering to families, schools, communities, and corporations, Szaky says his business is helping people live a greener, cleaner lifestyle…
Read the full article on The Guardian.