It Takes a Planet to Save a Planet

recyclling bins
CC BY 2.0 Flickr

In our free-market, capitalist economy, it’s only natural that there will be large companies and small companies. Furthermore, bigger companies will always tend to over-shadow the smaller ones, and are often less concerned with the environmental and social effects of their business models. With fewer resources available, it’s especially difficult for smaller companies to get the same exposure and create the same impacts that corporate giants are capable of. One way for non-profits and start-up companies to be heard is to partner with other small companies that share the same values and mission. By working together, they can better-amplify their voices, and grow their potential to influence for good. As a ten-year veteran in the world of eco-entrepreneurship, I am convinced that social enterprises and non-profits must work together if we want to ‘swim with the sharks.’

These types of partnerships not only benefit the companies involved, but they also reinforce and benefit their goals. This is the case with the recent partnership between Recycle Across America, Participant Media and TerraCycle. Through our partnership, we hope to create a better environment.

Did you know that only 34.5% of waste generated in the US is recycled or composted? Recycle Across America (RAA) is trying to change that. RAA is a non-profit dedicated to streamlining recycling labels across the country. Recycling labels can be complicated and they’re not uniform across the US. RAA’s goal is to implement simple recycling labels so that everyone will know how to recycle properly, hopefully raising the annual recycling rate in the process. If there were standardized labels on all recycling bins, recycling could be increased by more than 50%. If the recycling level in the US could reach 75%, it would create 1.5 million new jobs and it would have the same effect as removing 50 million cars from the road each year.

Participant Media is a widely-respected entertainment company, responsible for producing movies like An Inconvenient Truth, Super Size Me, and Food, Inc. The company’s stated mission is to focus on creating movies and television shows that are socially aware and politically active. To that end, their new TV channel, Pivot, broadcasts shows and movies that have social messages revolving around the economy, equality and the environment, just to name a few. Pivot TV is committed to producing shows with a social message that make people think. This is why Pivot TV is launching an unscripted reality show called “Human Resources,” which will follow the employees of TerraCycle and their efforts to change people’s opinions on recycling waste.

For those unfamiliar with TerraCycle’s business model, we collect waste that can’t typically be recycled by your local municipality, and then recycle or upcycle that material into useful products. You receive points for your collected waste, which can then be turned into monetary donations for the charity of your choice. By partnering with RAA and Pivot TV, all three companies are strengthened in their goals and initiatives.

Through our partnership, RAA, Pivot TV and TerraCycle have created the Recycle Right campaign. Recycle Right focuses on transforming recycling as we know it. Through “Human Resources,” viewers will be able to see that it’s possible to recycle almost anything, and the show will include PSAs and commercials to create awareness around proper recycling techniques. TerraCycle and RAA show people how to recycle more effectively, while Pivot TV provides the platform, the reach, and the ability to get this valuable information to millions of consumers.

By combining our strengths, TerraCycle, RAA and Pivot TV will bring more awareness to reshaping recycling and bettering the environment. Although this is only one partnership hoping to better the environment, it is still better than no initiative at all. After all, it takes a planet to save a planet, and you always have to start somewhere.

It Takes a Planet to Save a Planet
What happens when a non-profit, a recycling company, and a socially-minded television network join forces?