I materials scientist by training, a chemist at heart and an entrepreneur by design. I am an experienced researcher in the field of nanoscale materials. My core interests lie in technology development and commercializing applications of nanoscale materials in all walks of life. My current interests lie in the area of recycling. I am working on a startup which aims to design and manufacture smart packaging to enhance sorting rates at material recovery facilities.
This could work. Employee engagement is a huge hurdle and something your customers (HR Depts) would want more clarity on. One way to increase engagement is to tie in monetary benefits to employees based on 'gives'. Small rewards ($10 thank you's) work wonders in my experience.
@Kate Rushton We plan to address most questions during our submission and update our public submission here shortly. Please find below answers to your questions.
1) Cost: labels would add anywhere between 5-25% additional cost of manufacturing depending on the product characteristics. The additional cost gives companies an immediate ROI in terms of a marketing benefit. Brands would be able to claim that they are curbside-recyclable. The enhanced product design also allows brands to introduce a variant in their existing packaging options with a premium passed over to consumers.
2) There is no impact on recyclability of the item. The labels are completely recyclable. We are taking effort to use materials which comply with APR (Association of Plastic Recyclers) guidelines. APR puts out public information about what types of labels should be used. Ours will comply with the said.
3) The design is done with an effort to make packaging curbside-recyclable. In the US over 95% of the people have access to curbside recycling. ( See page 6 in this report: https://plastics.americanchemistry.com/Education-Resources/Publications/Plastic-Recycling-Collection-National-Reach-Study-2012-Update.pdf).
4) Both single-stream and dual - stream is workable for sorting the said magnetizable packaging. MRFs would need to add a magnetic separator and end-of-line to sort Magnomer packaging. Such a separator typically costs between $10,000 - $20,000 and a standard MRF would break even on such investment between 3-6 months based on our calculations.
5) Type 5 Plastic cutlery (first) and Type 5 bottle caps (second) are our MVP's. We will have details in our refinement submission.
Please find answers below. 1) We intend to apply the solution only to Type 5 plastic initially. 2) The labels are recyclable. We are taking effort to use materials which comply with APR (Association of Plastic Recyclers) guidelines. APR puts out public information about what types of labels should be used. Ours will comply with the said. 3) See answer above. No detrimental impact of label disposal - recycled similar to other labels. 4) No. We are not using any composite materials for our labels. 5) The labels - being visual in nature - will remind customers to discard correctly. No current plans to implement a mass media communications strategy. Could be worth considering in future.