I recently gave a TEDx talk about three companies working in the circular economy. The Green Shed, Send and Shred and Plastic Forests deliver recycling services to their customers. Green businesses like these have a different mindset from traditional companies. We all create jobs and aim to turn a profit like any other business, but we do it through an environmentally sustainable model. We also support charities and one another along the way.
The Green Shed operates a network of tip shops and op shops that sell second-hand goods. Since they began in 2010, they've recycled 63 million items and saved 59,000 tonnes from landfill. They've also donated over $780,000 in cash through their 'Charity Days' run on the last Wednesday of each month, where they donate 100% of all turnover to a charity. The Green Shed has launched and incubated several charity recycling ventures, including OzHarvest's Give-A-Can, Charity Cars and my company, Send and Shred.
Send and Shred shred and recycle paperwork for households and small businesses. We launched in 2018. We aim to replace the home shredder, which sends 1.5 million paper shredders to landfill as Ewaste each year, along with the paper they've shredded. We donate 50 cents from each bag to the RSPCA. We recycle all our paper with Australian pulp mills. We recycle our plastic bags through Plastic Forests.
Plastic Forests save soft plastics from landfill and recycle them instead. They started in 2011. They target the 400,000 tonnes of plastic film thrown out in Australia each year, instead recycling it back into plastic pellets or GreenMongrel products. Their GreenMongrel Mini Wheel Stop is the first Australian-designed, Australian-made recycled plastic film product and they run it as a school fundraiser.
These three companies all work in the circular economy. A circular economy is the perfect system. It's completely sustainable and it creates no waste. Things are made, sold, used, reused and then recycled back into new things. This is how nature works. There is no waste in nature because every waste product becomes a resource that gets used by someone else. Here's hoping green businesses like ours are soon the rule, not the exception.
by Jo Clay
CEO of Send and Shred