Recycling news of the week from Treezero

This Guy Makes Money Off Your Cigarette Butts and Flip-Flops

TerraCycle founder Tom Szaky envisions a new world where recycling reigns. By Stacie Sherman and Elise Young – Szaky, the founder of TerraCycle, a New Jersey-based garbage startup, has built a $24 million business around the belief that everything is recyclable. He’s convinced some of the world’s largest brands and retailers, including Procter & Gamble Co., Colgate-Palmolive Co. and Office Depot Inc., that there’s value in spending to keep garbage out of landfills. Now he’s seeking millions to help fund a bigger mission: making trash the star of a circular economy, where re-use is the norm. Szaky, 35, says major brand names have already signed on. He’ll unveil them at the World Economic Forum, the annual gathering of the world’s problem solvers every January — but in 2019, not 2018. First, he needs to appeal to the environmentally conscious mom-and-pop masses and raise as much as $25 million through a kind of pre-initial public offering in December. TerraCycle teamed with Office Depot to recycle three-ring binders, the bane of overstuffed filing cabinets. Customers simply pop in for a drop-off — or that’s their intention, anyway, until they notice the deals on toner cartridges and printer paper. In July, it filed with the SEC for a Regulation A+ offering, which Szaky says is essentially “crowdfunding for equity.” He said he wants to take the company public, but not until it reaches at least $80 million in revenue. “It’s not that far off,” he said.

In 90 Seconds: Holiday Recycling

The holidays bring a lot of gifts and seasonal cheer, but they also bring a lot of waste that may or may not be recyclable. In 90 seconds, learn what you can do with your Christmas tree, what kind of gift wrapping can go in the recycling bin, where to send unusable holiday lights and other eco-friendly suggestions.

Recycling Counts: UNC Asheville Hosts Waste Audit for America Recycles Day

Jackie Hamstead, UNC Asheville’s environmental specialist, organized the event as part of America Recycles Day, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. UNC Asheville participates in the event by holding a waste audit on the Quad, which has occurred annually since fall 2015, when more than 1,707 pounds of trash was collected over the course of one day. This year, the campus produced 856 pounds of trash. To conduct the waste audit, volunteers go through the collected trash on the Quad to separate what is actually trash and what could actually be recycled or composted. According to Hamstead, up to 90 percent of all campus waste is recyclable or compostable. Over the course of two hours, Hamstead and a group of student volunteers sorted through nearly 328 pounds of waste, finding that only 35 percent of it was actually trash while the rest should have been recycled or composted. Since the first event in 2015, the amount of trash on campus has been reduced by nearly half as a result of the introduction of recycling and compost bins around campus. Eco-representatives in residence halls also assist in cutting down the amount of trash so what can be recycled or composted is put in the appropriate bin. In total, Hamstead said, about 68 percent of the total amount of waste coming out of campus buildings is diverted to recycling or composting.

What Chinese import policies mean for all 50 states

By: Cody Boteler, Cole Rosengren
Recycling markets are volatile by nature and 2017 has been one of the more turbulent years in recent history. Some say the worst may be over, or it was never that bad in the first place. Others say it’s still too soon to know whether China’s proposed import policies will have lasting effects. Earlier this month, Waste Dive checked in with all 50 states (and the District of Columbia) to assess the landscape. We sent a short questionnaire to each environmental agency about whether they’d heard concerns, what guidance they were offering if so, and whether any disposal bans were in place (specifically on material affected by China) that would require waivers in a worst-case scenario. We know that state agencies aren’t always involved in recycling markets. We know that most states have disposal bans on at least some material and made sure to cross-check that with the Northeast Recycling Council’s comprehensive guide. We know the local factors of this situation are often complex. For a state-by-state breakdown, click on the menu below or scroll through. For an overview of what we found out initially, you can read our companion feature story. Since then, we’ve continued talking to waste professionals from around the country, tracking the latest details on a newly proposed 0.5% contamination standard and updating this page as often as possible.

Cox Enterprises Announces Eight Zero Waste to Landfill Facilities

Cox Enterprises is proud to announce that eight of its locations achieved zero waste to landfill status in 2017. Cox Conserves, the company’s national sustainability program, is celebrating its 10th anniversary of focusing on waste management and carbon and water conservation. The program engages each of the company’s major divisions: Cox Communications, Cox Automotive and Cox Media Group. As a part of the Cox Conserves initiative, the company adopted an aggressive corporate goal of achieving Zero Waste to Landfill by 2024. Since then, the Cox Conserves Recycling and Waste Diversion team has worked with individual locations to streamline operations, increase diversion and reduce overall waste in order to reach Zero Waste to Landfill and reduce the company’s environmental impact. “Through Cox Conserves, each of our divisions uses innovation, creativity and resourcefulness to address the significant waste challenge that is facing our world today,” said Cox Enterprises’ Vice President of Sustainability Keith Mask. “We’re proud of our accomplishments to date, and we look forward to achieving more milestones in the years ahead.”


“Help the City of LA free food from landfills in the first ever Food Waste Grant Challenge!” FOOD WASTE CHALLENGE APPLICATION LINK:

There are two (2) types of grants available for the Food Waste Grant Challenge


  • Number of Awards: 3
  • Size of Grant: $45,000 total grant pool ($15,000/each)
  • Eligible Applicants: Non-Profit Organizations, Neighborhood Councils


  • Number of Awards: 7
  • Size of Grant: $52,500 ($7500/each)
  • Eligible Applicants: Any organization or business as long as the project serves a defined geographic community and is available to the public.
  • Purpose: The #FreeTheFood Projects will demonstrate all the ways we can free food from landfills through (1) source reduction and waste prevention (2) food donation (3) upcycled use like animal feed or fuel or (4) composting. The projects will be rapid design/build prototypes that demonstrate how communities can implement ways to divert food from landfills.

    Rubicon Global hires new president – Elaine Richards, effective Dec. 4.

    Richards is leaving her role as executive vice president of business operations at for the position at Rubicon’s Atlanta headquarters. “Elaine is a truly transformative leader. She has challenged the status quo in the automobile and technology industries and now brings her strong leadership skills to Rubicon Global and the waste and recycling industry,” said Rubicon CEO Nate Morris in a statement. “Her experience and success at gives her invaluable insight and tools to help Rubicon Global as we work to transform another legacy industry.”

    Tempe program recycling Arizona State banner and turning them into fashion

    By Justin Pazera
    A Tempe program is taking Arizona State University banners and turning them into fashion. That’s right — those banners seen hanging around campus will be cut up and sewn into one-of-a-kind tote bags, thanks to the Center for Habilitation. Instead of sitting in landfills for hundreds of years, the banners are being recycled into something stylish. “It’s something you don’t even think about,” said Ryan McAlister, a spokesperson for the Center. “I’m sure everybody sees them and nobody really thinks about what’s really going to happen with them.” Just to give you an idea, one banner can produce a couple dozen bags.


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