A global overview of innovative recycling solutions


Make no mistake: 15 November is World Recycling Day. It was introduced in the US in 1994 to promote the consumption of goods made from recycled materials. Now that recycling has become a major environmental issue, it emphasizes on the re-use of products, and initiatives that support one particular circuit in our economies: the recycling industry. We take a look at projects all over the world that approach recycling in an intelligent and constructive way.
Reading time: 5 minutes


Improving conditions for recycling workers

As with many developing countries, part of the recycling process often falls to waste pickers. To improve waste management, together with living and working conditions for these workers, the project « Novo Ciclo » provides them with appropriate training and essential support in terms of equipment and technology. Co-created by Danone Brazil, INSEA (Nenuca Institute for Sustainable Development) and the Danone Ecosystem Fund in Brazil, the project encourages waste recovery cooperatives and the creation of new recycling channels, all designed to support the inclusive circular economy.

Find out more: http://downtoearth.danone.com/2014/12/12/discover-the-danone-ecosystem-funds-projects-in-brazil/

Emancipating women and supporting the local economy

In Gambia in 1997, the Njau Recycling and Income Generation Group began helping nearly a hundred women to collect waste in return for wages, enabling them to earn a living. Four communities are involved in the project, which is helping them to become more economically independent and support their families.

Find out more: http://downtoearth.danone.com/2014/05/14/recycling-upcycling-and-womens-empowerment-how-gambia-tackles-the-waste-issue/

« Breakthrough » recycling with creative start-ups

2016 marked the start of the « smart recycling » age. Throughout the world, flexible, creative start-ups are providing solutions to recycling issues. In the US, Rubicon Global aims to be the “Uber for recycling”: it analyses and takes care of the recycling needs of industries and companies on an on-demand basis. Meanwhile, the French start-up Green Creative has launched Flexidry, a machine that separates organic waste from packaging without the use of crushing or water. This solution could be extremely useful for the agricultural and industrial sectors.

Find out more: http://downtoearth.danone.com/2016/02/22/towards-ever-smarter-waste-recycling/

Helping the creation of collective recycling workers’ organizations

In Indonesia, pemulungs take charge of waste collection and recycling in the streets of Bali, Bandung and Tangerang. To put an end to their economic dependence on unscrupulous middlemen and improve their profits, Danone Aqua and Reska Buana Utama have launched an empowerment program to help these workers form cooperatives. They can thus defend their rights and wages more vigorously with sorting centers.

Find out more: http://downtoearth.danone.com/2013/06/20/pemulungs-the-recycling-people-in-indonesia/

The Circular Economy Imperative: Ellen MacArthur Foundation

Through her time as a solo off-shore sailor, Ellen MacArthur became aware of the importance of utilising resources, and the finite nature of the current linear economy.
In this video, she talks about the circular economy concept, its benefits and why we need to move over to this model.