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Recycle Match: The eBay of Recycling?

| Friday January 8th, 2010 | 4 Comments

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Waste. Every company creates it, in some form or another. For some materials, the path to recycling is clear – paper, plastics, and industry specific waste that has a known reuse within your sector or a related one.

But what about the less obvious materials, the ones for which you have no feasible reuse, and therefore pay disposal fess, month after month? Is that the end of story, a “necessary evil” you must resign yourself to?

Not if Recycle Match can help it.

Much like eBay has created a global market on the consumer items that previously sat in people’s homes or were thrown away, Recycle Match seeks to match up those who generate either one-time or regular streams of hard-to-recycle materials, with those seeking that material for their own use.

The source company gets revenue from that which they previously paid to have taken away, and the recipient finds a resource they need, likely at a lower cost, and definitely with less of an impact on the environment.

What does Recycle Match get out of it?

It makes a profit per matched companies, rather than charging for the overall search process. One could reasonably wonder, why can’t companies do this for themselves? A good point, yet I recall having a friend working in an automotive upholstery company that serviced Toyota, and though it actively sought options out to recycle everything it didn’t use, often had difficulties with certain materials, and eventually gave up. It took them a lot of time and energy to find, and at times re-find recycling options, as there wasn’t always a long term need for the materials.

When you have a larger community of companies, in industries that you may not have thought would have a need for what you don’t, there’s an increased likelihood that your “waste” will find a buyer, the effort, time, and cost minimized to make it happen.

What’s sitting around at your company? Perhaps it’s time to give Recycle Match a try.

Readers: How are you finding new, profitable, beneficial ways to recycle or upcycle? What’s your take on Recycle Match? Do you think this startup has a future, and if so, how would you improve it?

Paul Smith is a sustainable business innovator, the founder of GreenSmith Consulting, and has an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio Graduate School in San Francisco. He creates interest in, conversations around, and business for green (and greening) companies, via social media.


▼▼▼      4 Comments     ▼▼▼

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  • David Ceaser

    Old news! CalMax (http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/calmax/) has been doing this since the early 90's and for free! My guess is that other states have similar services. Good luck!

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  • brookebettsfarrell

    Paul – Thanks for a great article. We’d love to hear ideas of how to improve our business.

    David is right – there are a handful of free state run sites. Our goal is to help companies reduce waste and reduce cost. If companies can reach these goals with existing resources we encourage them to do so.

    Much like Paul’s friend in the Toyota supply chain, our customers want a solution that is geared towards business and is sensitive to their pain points. Unlike the state sites, RecycleMatch keeps these companies confidential in the process. We leverage our large network and proactively market materials to increase the likelihood and speed at which we can make a match.

    According to EPA estimates, US companies pay to dump over 214 million tons of commercial, non-hazardous waste each year. We are working hard to be a sustainable solution that helps business and the environment.

    Brooke B Farrell
    President, RecycleMatch

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  • georgeschaffer

    There are a handful of state funded entities who operate “waste exchanges”, but many of them have folded due to private sector services like that provided at http://www.recycle.net. We've been matching scrap, waste, used and surplus materials since 1995. Wow … I don't feel that old.
    In our business model, we do not get involved in the trade of the material – we simply charge a small fee (i.e. $5US) to put the buyer and seller in touch with each other. Everything that happens after that is left to the buyer and seller to work out as part of normal business practice.
    Users of our service can buy monthly/annually access to the sales leads or can simply pay on a pay per use basis. Our goal, like that of Brooke's, is to divert as much material from landfills. On a daily basis, I am amazed at the types of materials and the sheer quantities of materials that we see go through our Exchange.

  • georgeschaffer

    There are a handful of state funded entities who operate “waste exchanges”, but many of them have folded due to private sector services like that provided at http://www.recycle.net. We've been matching scrap, waste, used and surplus materials since 1995. Wow … I don't feel that old.
    In our business model, we do not get involved in the trade of the material – we simply charge a small fee (i.e. $5US) to put the buyer and seller in touch with each other. Everything that happens after that is left to the buyer and seller to work out as part of normal business practice.
    Users of our service can buy monthly/annually access to the sales leads or can simply pay on a pay per use basis. Our goal, like that of Brooke's, is to divert as much material from landfills. On a daily basis, I am amazed at the types of materials and the sheer quantities of materials that we see go through our Exchange.

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