October 27, 2023

The Role of Technology in Modern Recycling: A Case Study

Modern recycling processes that utilize the implementation and development of technology could increase recycling rates dramatically in the United States. Implementing technology into current processes and developing new technologies for a circular economy could elevate current recycling efforts and ultimately reduce carbon emissions. Current recycling rates in the United States are low, with thirty-two percent of waste being either recycled or composted and a majority of our waste in our landfills. This is largely due to a lack of awareness of what to compost or recycle and consequential contamination. From business to consumer, investing in and utilizing technology could add convenience to recycling processes and curb confusion about the recyclability of different materials. 

From a business perspective, it may seem like companies don’t have very much control over product life cycles and their final destination in landfills. However, by investing in technology that supports a circular economy, businesses can not only gain insight on a product’s life cycle, but actually impact consumers’ recycling, ultimately increasing recycling rates. Big Green Egg is a producer and manufacturer of kamado-style ceramic charcoal barbecue cookers that recently partnered with recycling software company CIRT, in an effort to educate consumers on the recyclability of Big Green Egg packaging. Using CIRT geo-spatial technology, consumers can determine whether a material is recyclable in their area with the click of a button. Recycling is complicated and can be tedious with variations in regulations city-to-city, but with technology, sorting materials doesn’t have to be difficult. 

Big Green Egg packaging is largely recyclable, yet without technology, that information would not be easily accessible or readily available. All consumers have to do with this technology is insert a zip code, generating location specific data to answer the question, Can I Recycle This? In Athens, Georgia, Big Green Egg packaging is mostly recyclable through a curbside program. Only Silica packs and zip ties need to be thrown away, with flexible plastic film needing to be dropped off at an accepting location. This makes the process of recycling materials much easier, and these materials become less likely to be thrown in the garbage. Technology is crucial to the education of consumers on material recyclability. 

By increasing awareness of the recyclability of materials, the actual recycling of those materials increases. Currently in the U.S, eighty-five of the plastic waste from packaging ends up in landfills. With convenient access to dynamic data, plastic packaging can be diverted from landfills and recycled instead. CIRT technology streamlines the research process of recycling  for the consumer. In modern recycling, with software development and recycling data becoming easily available to consumers, recycling processes are simplified, raising recycling rates in the country. 

Want to learn more about modern recycling? CIRT is a women-owned and founded company that recently received Benefit Corporation status for continued efforts towards sustainability. CIRT uses dynamic data to help educate consumers in a user friendly way. Not only is the interface easy to use, but is set up in a way that will collect data across the customer's entire distribution footprint. Visit our website to learn more: https://www.cirt.tech/