These Startups Around The World Turn Trash Into Cash
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
Posted by: Anne Piacentino
Sep. 27, 2016
The average person produces 4.3 pounds of waste every day, 1.6 pounds more than back in 1960. In the United States, 55% of the 220 million tons of waste end up in landfills or the oceans.
However, there are imaginative ways of looking at waste. As many communities around the world are moving towards a more ecologically responsible mindset, there are many creative startups that prove that the waste doesn’t really have to be wasted.
Here are some of them, operating in wildly different areas from toy manufacturing to reclaiming the fishnet in the oceans.
According to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, roughly one-third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tonnes — gets lost or wasted. The cost of this waste is $680 billion in industrialized countries and $310 billion in developing countries.
Spoiler Alert, a mobile app, lets you donate the food that might otherwise go to waste. Many food businesses and farms use Spoiler Alert. This means those in need or organizations who assist communities experiencing food shortages can benefit the surplus food that could end up in the trash can instead.
India, one of the most crowded countries in the world, is also one of the biggest electronic waste producers. The rapid urbanization and economic developments in the country accelerate an appetite for electronics. According to the United Nations, there are more mobile phones than toilets in India.
That said, electronic waste is also a lucrative market. United Nations Environment Programme states that illegally traded and dumped electronic waste is worth $19 billion annually.
Karma Recycling taps into this lucrative market in one of the world’s most electronic waste rich economies. They purchase old mobile devices, fix and resell them through their online platform.
It’s no secret that our oceans are dirtier than ever. According to the World Wildlife Fund over one million seabirds are killed by ocean pollution each year. Three hundred thousand dolphins and porpoises die each year as a result of becoming entangled in discarded fishing nets, among other items.
Bureo, a Chile-based startup, does its part of cleaning the oceans and rescuing these animals by producing skateboards out of recycled fishnet.
According to the Plastic Oceans Foundation, we use over 300 million tonnes of new plastic every year and eight million tonnes of this plastic waste end up in the ocean every year.
Another startup that taps into the issue of pollution in the oceans is Bionic Yarn. This New York City startup is turning the plastic waste in the oceans into fabrics and yarns.
It turns out that recovered plastic makes high-quality and durable fabrics and yarns.
Toys might be associated with childhood and innocence, but the environmental impact of the discarded toys isn’t that innocent. Toys comprise less than 1% of the typical household waste stream, but with 1.9 billion children around the world, it all adds up.
Green Toys, a California-based startup, chimes in by producing toys out of recycled milk jugs. The company has already recycled almost 45 million milk jugs and counting.