We do not recycle consumer plastics here at Seraphim Plastics. We are an industrial plastic recycler only. Nonetheless, we still keep an eye on the consumer space just so that we stay up to speed with what’s happening there. With that in mind, we thought it might be interesting to tell you about a new Australian program that adds a twist to consumer recycling.
The program, known as RecycleSmart, is actually a small business startup that’s looking to fill a void left behind when certain consumer recycling projects in Sydney were eliminated. The company works with a recycling partner to keep soft plastics and other recycled materials out of landfills.
RecycleSmart is currently available in 16 councils throughout the greater Sydney area. They run a Power Pickup service which sends pickup personnel directly to consumer homes to collect bags of recyclable materials. Their service is offered with three price options: free, monthly, and on-demand.
Similar to What We Do As an Industrial Plastic Recycler
RecycleSmart’s business model is very similar to what we do here at Seraphim. They go directly to customers to pick up recyclables. We do the same. We send trucks to pick up industrial plastic scrap in seven states, including Tennessee, Michigan, Ohio, and Arkansas. We will even pay for plastics at pickup.
Another similarity between our two services is found in cleaning and sorting. Our customers are required to prepare loads prior to pick up. Loads need to be clean and sorted, which is to say that a load must consist of a single type of plastic and be free of contamination.
Likewise, RecycleSmart customers sort their waste materials so that they are giving the company only certain items. Those items need to be free of contamination.
Customers on the free plan can turn in up to two bags of recyclable materials every six weeks. Extra bags incur a nominal fee. People on the monthly plan get regularly scheduled pickups once per month. They can also turn in up to two bags with extra bags incurring a small fee. On-demand customers can pay a per-bag fee to have recyclables picked up the next day.
Why the Model Works for Recycling Plastic
If you are curious as to why the Australian model works when so many municipal recycling programs fail, it comes down to money. Someone needs to pay the cost of collecting and transporting recycled materials. And if sorting and cleaning aren’t handled by the consumer, the recycler is forced to handle it. It needs to be paid for.
RecycleSmart works because the company can charge nominal fees and still be profitable. Likewise, its recycling partner can do what it does at minimal expense, allowing it to sell processed materials at a profit.
The industrial plastics model works the same way. We can collect and transport industrial scrap plastic cost-effectively. Because we don’t have to clean and sort, we can process the material for next to nothing. Then we have a regrind product we can sell at a reasonable cost that is attractive to manufacturers but still allows us to make a profit.
Industrial Plastic Producers Are the Key
Industrial plastic waste producers are the key to our success. They provide the plastic waste we need to keep our business running. At the same time, producers help control our costs by handling cleaning and sorting prior to pick up. Not only does this help us contain our costs, but it even allows us to buy plastic scrap from customers.
RecycleSmart employs a similar model in the consumer recycling space. The only difference is that customers pay for pickup service. Either way, it works because consumers actively participate in keeping costs under control.