Eco-Cycle: Building Zero-Waste Communities

Many readers were less than impressed with the all-stick-no-carrot approach of the "pay as you throw" scheme, mentioned yesterday, that may be coming to the UK. Happily, several commenters wrote in with helpful alternative solutions worth a mention. We've already covered RecycleBank, the program that pays you to recycle (instead of charging for garbage, as the UK program would), so we'll concentrate on Eco-Cycle, a Boulder, CO-based initiative to not just recycle more, but create a zero-waste community. By involving businesses, schools, government, retailers, manufacturers and volunteers, they've got ways for everyone to be involved as they encourage and enable more recycling. It isn't as simple as being sure all your empty bottles and cans end up in the right place, though; they're leveraging change from the top down, by working with designers and manufacturers to incorporate more recycled materials and make products more recyclable in a Cradle-to-Cradle-type model. Their services include assistance with hard-to-recycle goods, a Freecycle-type exchange of reusable goods and recycling services for businesses. There's a lot going on here, but going zero-waste isn't particularly easy or simple, and we like the diversity of available resources and services. The more people they can get involved, the more they recycle and the less waste they produce, and we like the sound of that. Eco-Cycle via tipster ecogal

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