Most small format plastics are not recycled even after making it to the materials recovery facilities (MRFs). The size of these plastics makes it difficult for machines as well as humans to efficiently separate them and ship for recycling. What if we can find a better way to keep these small format plastics segregated from rest of the recyclable waste?
Imagine the bustling cafeteria of a tech company in SF Bay Area during lunch time. A diverse set of young and environmentally conscious people who prefer to eat on the go just got their lunch. Once they are done eating they make sure they arrange their waste as recycle, compost or landfill and throw it in the right bins. And still the small plastics will end up in the land fill. How can we avoid this?
We propose a new way to collect small format plastics. Adding a fourth bin that's meant to collect only small plastics. Once the small plastics are collected and sent to the MRFs, there will be a dedicated conveyor belt to gather the plastics based on their material. This will make the task of other segregating other waste more efficient and reduce the % of waste that ends up in landfill.
Workplace cafeterias are a great place to start implementation of this program. They have positive network effects and critical mass to make valuable impact.