Garbage has long been regarded as a serious environmental problem. In the United States, 80% of our garbage is recyclable, yet just 28% gets recycled. Most of the rest ends up in massive landfills – the largest the size of 2,000 football fields. More garbage ends up polluting the environment as litter, or contributing to any of seven known trash vortexes in the world’s oceans. The most famous, known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, is believed to cover an area twice the size of Texas, and may even be as large as the entire continental United States.
Though garbage has long been regarded, rightfully, as an environmental nightmare, a growing number of entrepreneurs are beginning to regard it instead as a goldmine. By recycling, reusing, and repurposing garbage, these entrepreneurs not only help conserve resources, reduce the need for landfills, and prevent or clean up unsightly and harmful litter, they can also save money for businesses!
One example of the new breed of waste management entrepreneurs is RecycleMatch.com. Founded by Brooke Betts Farrell and Chad Farrell, RecycleMatch helps match companies who have waste products with companies who need waste products. One company can make extra money selling waste materials that would otherwise be a liability, the other company can save money purchasing the materials it needs more cheaply than it would find them from traditional sources. Best of all, the exchange conserves resources and reduces waste. It’s a win-win-win situation for both companies and the environment, too!
To date, RecycleMatch has helped keep more than 3 million pounds of waste materials out of landfills. A few examples include a company that sold 180,000 pounds of glass windows removed during a major renovation effort to another company that turned them into beautiful glass tiles and countertops, and a company that sold used vinyl billboards to a company that turned them into reusable shopping bags! Other materials traded on the site have included polyester textile waste, salvaged wood decking materials, waste sodium methylate crystals, and used plastic foam packaging.
How It Works
If you have (or need) commercial quantities of waste products or raw materials that might find a useful second life in the right hands, RecycleMatch can help!
In order to get started on RecycleMatch, companies need to provide a little upfront information, including:
- Description of the waste or materials offered or wanted
- Estimated Quantities
- Packaging/Loadout Information
Your company’s name is kept confidential during the matching process in order. Only when a match is made will the two company’s learn each other’s identity in order to complete the transaction.
RecycleMatch is a for-profit social enterprise. Listing materials on the website is free. However, once a successful match is made, RecycleMatch charges a one-time match fee and a small additional fee per ton of materials exchanged. Posting a wanted listing requires an upfront fee. This helps ensure that only serious buyers use the site.
Main image credit: D’Arcy Norman