Though they're all important parts of sustainability, the 3Rs of waste management — reduce, reuse and recycle — are not equally effective. Rather, they're intended as a hierarchy, with the goal of first reducing waste as much as one can, then reusing as much as possible, and then finally recycling at the end of an item's useful life. Aiming to extend the “reuse” stage for more industrial materials, Houston-based RecycleMatch helps companies with unwanted waste find companies that want to reuse it.
Similar in many ways to BoxCycle — which focuses specifically on cardboard boxes — RecycleMatch seeks “to create an industrial ecosystem in which the use of energy and materials are optimized, waste is minimized, and there is an economically viable role for every product of a manufacturing process,” in the site's own words. Toward that end, companies with items to dispose of begin by listing them for free on the site, which will accept almost anything but equipment, trucks, salvage or other capital assets. The listing company's name is kept confidential, but other RecycleMatch participants can see descriptions and photos of the materials in question along with the quantities available and their location. When another company is interested and a match is made, the owner pays RecycleMatch a fee of USD 10 per ton for a period of up to three years plus a one-time match fee of USD 1,500. The buyer, meanwhile, pays a one-time finder's fee of USD 250. Users can also post “wanted” listings on the site for a one-time fee of USD 500.
More than 3 million pounds of waste materials have already been diverted from landfills, RecycleMatch says, with obvious benefits for the environment, the companies involved and any zero-waste goals being pursued. Currently, however, RecycleMatch serves only US users. One to partner with or emulate in your part of the sustainable world...?
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