Recycling rules can be more complicated than deciphering hieroglyphics; bottles—narrow-mouth only, Pizza boxes—no grease, gable-top boxes—sometimes, yogurt cups—depends, e-waste? forget about it. It’s all so confusing that it often dies under its own weight. But when manufacturers find avenues to help out, the role of recycling goes back to what it was intended to be: sustainable.
This goes above and beyond EPR
Many manufacturers are prompted to make a sustainable move toward their products because of a legislative mandate called the Extended Producer Responsibility, or EPR. EPR is good, in many ways, to put the onus of environmental damage on the manufacturers, since they are in-effect the reason the product exists in the first place. But EPR’s failing is that it ends up being a gun at the head of manufacturers.
Unfortunately, this causes many manufacturers do the bare minimum EPR requires simply because they are obligated, rather than because they want to make a change for the environment. That’s why what Colgate is doing with this program is a lot more respectable; because it shows a degree of altruism beyond common manufacturers.
Altruism can be sustainable
The fact that Terracycle and Colgate are focusing on one of the most difficult products in every household to find another use for takes this another step beyond being a good deed. It makes this program even more sustainable than a simple EPR compliance, and infinitely more sustainable than anything else the dental industry is doing.
But that’s the thing with being sustainable: it is best served with altruism. A business or company can’t be effectively sustainable without it being a selfless act in some part. Sage’s effectiveness in the IT assets space is governed by how much sustainability is in our DNA. If it weren’t so, there would be corners cut or compromises made that would make much of what sets us apart negligible.
This is critical for success going forward because the current culture is migrating en masse toward brands that hold this virtue. And when Terracycle—the ifixit of packaging—gets behind something like this, we know it will work because of how sustainability is baked into Terracycle’s existence.
This is evident in their latest consumer-focused venture, Loop. Loop is unique, like this Colgate program, in that it directly engages the manufacturer to be more circular. Loop takes Reuse to our doorstep with a subscription model that might just be the answer—because the manufacturers are involved. Circular economics can only happen when manufacturers are on board.