We are excited to share with you the first of iEco Buz small talk series with Annalisa Guist, Community Manager at Ridwell.
Did you know that it is super easy to recycle batteries, light bulbs, plastic films, Styrofoam the right way? Not only Ridwell can help you do it, but they are redefining transparency for the waste industry by giving you a detailed look at where your materials end up and how much stuff is being kept out of landfills. Ridwell has helped prevent about 4.6 million pounds from getting into landfills thus far. They have been able to reuse or recycle 97.5% of material that they have collected. Learn more about Ridwell and what you can do for our planet from our interview below.
Pic: Ridwell at the Issaquah Highlands Eco-market, Blakely Hall. Annalisa in her interview with Akshadha says "Kids are super into recycling, so find ways that your children can learn about recycling, things that can or can't be recycled"
What is the idea behind Ridwell?
Annalisa: Ridwell is a company that makes it easy to recycle hard to recycle items. We come to your door and we pick up things like batteries, light bulbs, plastic film or thread. We also collect old things like art supplies and give them to non profit organizations that can give them to people who can't afford those items.
How did you/the company come up with this idea?
Annalisa: This company was started in 2018 by a father and son. Owen, the son, was 7 at the time and he and his dad Ryan were looking for places to responsibly recycle batteries and they were having a really hard time trying to find a place to recycle batteries. They finally found a company that breaks down batteries, and reuses the heavy metals that are in batteries to create new ones. They started taking their batteries to that company, and while they were at it, they thought, "Why don't we help our neighbors with their trash?". They posted on their next-door app that they were going to take some batteries to be recycled and asked if anyone else had batteries that they could take with them. The requests kept coming until it was a little too much for them to handle by themselves. That is how Ridwell was created.
If you were going to give one piece of advice to a family who is considering going down the Eco-friendly path, what would that be?
Annalisa: Well, it depends a lot on the family. Kids are super into recycling, so find ways that your children can learn about recycling, things that can or can't be recycled. Have little kids go and look for things to recycle. Kids that are older can research. On our website we have a transparency page, and it talks about all our different partners and how things get recycled or reused, and it explains all of the processes. It's just about learning what can or can't be recycled or reuse, looking at what we buy from the store in the first place, and being aware of what your dollars are buying, that is super important. One of our drivers visits 110 houses per day, so it lowers the overall carbon footprint that it takes to recycle those materials.
What else do you think humanity needs to do in order to make our world clean?
Annalisa: Really think about what we buy. That is the biggest piece of information or recommendation that I could give to anyone, and sometimes thinking about what we buy means we don't really need to buy it. That's one of our biggest problems is consumer waste, so that's a really important area to think about.