Innovation That Matters

Online marketplace fosters small-scale recycling programs

Recycling may be the right thing to do for the planet, but for those without free curbside pickup service, it doesn’t always happen. Ecycler is a new site that aims to make it easier to recycle by connecting those in need of service with those who are willing to do the recycling. Now in beta, Illinois-based Ecycler allows consumers with recyclables to dispose of to find recycling entrepreneurs in their community. Anyone with an internet connection can register on the site as a collector to create their own recycling program. Ecycler provides a customizable URL, downloadable personalized business cards and posters for publicity. Consumers with newspapers, cans and bottles to get rid of simply choose a collector on, arrange a pickup and leave their sorted recyclables outside. The collector then picks up the recyclables, brings them to a recycling facility and collects the resulting cash. Ecycler encourages people to discard their recyclables for free, but discarders can request up to 40 percent of the proceeds from the collector. Discarders can also track their carbon credits on the site by listing how many recyclables they’ve given away. A rating tool on Ecycler, meanwhile, allows collectors and discarders to rate each other. Currently, Ecycler is free for both discarders and collectors, but after its beta it may begin charging a small fee per match in competitive recycling markets. By enabling more recycling while providing extra income opportunities for enterprising minipreneurs, Ecycler has the potential to create a win-win for all involved—including the planet. Currently, however, it serves only the US. One to partner with or emulate in other parts of the world…? (Related: Incentive-based recyclingReverse vending.) Spotted by: Cecilia Biemann



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