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An Interview with Recyclops




Tell us about Recyclops: who are you and what services do you provide?


Recyclops: Our CEO Ryan Smith created Recyclops when he saw a need for recycling in dorms and apartments while he was going to school at BYU. We provide sustainable lifestyle solutions to all, regardless of where people live, by leveraging community and technology. Our mission is to provide sustainable lifestyle solutions by leveraging community and technology.


Tell us about the new pilot program you recently launched along the Wasatch Front for hard-to-recycle materials.


Recyclops: Recyclops+ ("Recyclops Plus") is a service where you can get your Clothing, Batteries, Plastic Films, Light Bulbs, Clamshell Plastics, & Styrofoam recycled or reused. Collect all your items and have them picked up directly from your doorstep on an every other week basis. You can view the complete list and details about what we collect in our FAQ: https://recyclops.com/plus-faqs


How is Recyclops+ different from the traditional Recyclops service?


Recyclops: Our traditional service focuses on typical recycled items such as plastics, cardboard, paper, and aluminum collection in areas that don’t have access to curbside recycling. Recyclops+ focuses on hard to recycle materials that aren’t accepted in curbside bins like light bulbs, batteries, clothing and styrofoam. This service offering is currently available along the Wasatch Front! You can plug in your address on our site to see if it’s available in your area: https://recyclops.com/signup/plus


How much does Recyclops+ cost?


Recyclops: Our base service includes collection of plastic bags & films, batteries, light bulbs, and clothing. The cost is $15/month if paying quarterly or $12/month if paying annually. You can also opt to add-on styrofoam for $5/month and plastic clamshells for an extra $1.50/month.


It's so great that you can collect so many plastics that usually aren't accepted in curbside bins in Utah: can you tell us more about what's going on with those?


Recyclops: Plastic bags and plastic films can’t go into Utah’s normal recycling bins because they clog up the sorting equipment at recycling facilities. When we collect them, we bale them and ship them to the Trex Company that will turn them into high quality plastic lumber for decking, siding, etc.

The thermoforms, aka “clamshells”, we can take include salad & fruit containers as well as take-out containers with the #1 symbol on them. Clam shells are made from the same chemical compound as #1 PET plastic water and soda bottles. However, the way the chemicals are bonded together in clam shells is different from #1 PET plastic water and soda bottles and therefore can’t be recycled the same way. Furthermore, the market for sorted bales of clam shells is not nearly as well developed as it is for PET bottles so many recycling sorting facilities do not have an economic incentive to sort them out. Lastly, due to the shape and thinness of clam shell plastic, they are difficult for automated sorting systems to effectively sort them out. When Recyclops takes your clamshells though, we bale them and ship them to either Green Impact Plastics or Eastman Chemical who both specialize in recycling clamshell plastics. And the wonderful thing about recycling clamshells is that they can be turned right back into new clam shells for a truly circular process. Some areas we service already accept and recycle clamshell containers. If that is the case in your area, continue recycling them with your normal curbside recycling.


You’re collecting some clothing now too: what happens to that?


Recyclops: We accept new, gently used and reusable clothing for adults and children. This also includes shoes, belts, purses, hats, coats and jackets. Additionally, we accept gently used linens such as towels, sheets, pillow cases, comforters, blankets and throw rugs. Help us by keeping shoes paired and not including unwanted items, especially breakable items and anything made of glass.


So if someone signs up for Recyclops+, you’re going to give them a Recyclops+ box to put all recyclables into: how does the collection process work?


Recyclops: Yes, the box is delivered to your home before your first pick-up to put all your items into. While the box is for you to use however works best for you and your family, here’s our suggestion for how best to use it:

  • Batteries - Keep a sandwich or quart size zipper bag in the box for placing your dead batteries.

  • Light Bulbs - Keep a gallon size zipper bag in the box for placing your light bulbs.

  • Plastic bags & film - Keep a Recyclops 13-gal kitchen bag in the box for stuffing bags and film.

  • Clothing - Keep a Recyclops 13-gal kitchen bag in your closet for storing yours and your family’s old clothes. Once the bag is full, put it by your box and we’ll pick it up on your next pick up day.

  • Clamshells (if we accept this material in your area) - Using a Recyclops 13-gal kitchen bag, store your clamshells wherever makes sense for you in your home. Maybe you have room for an extra container in your kitchen, or maybe you simply hang the bag somewhere in your garage. When it’s full, put it by your box and we’ll pick it up on your next pick up day.

  • Styrofoam (if we accept this material in your area and if you added this service) - Same suggestion as for Clamshells. As always, try not to put your Styrofoam out for pick up until you have a full bag - and if you had a large delivery that had a bunch of Styrofoam that uses more than one bag, no problem! Put it all out by your box on your next pick up day. It is very important that you remove any stickers or tape from Styrofoam.

  • Glass (if we accept this material in your area and if you added this service) - Same suggestion as for Clamshells. As always, try not to put your glass out for pick up until you have a full bag.

  • If a different system from what we propose here works best for you and your family, then go for it! Just make sure all your full or mostly full bags are either inside or next to your box by 10pm the night before your pick up day.

  • Above all, please make sure each different material is bagged separately: the reason we are able to offer the service at a reasonable price is because you do the sorting for us!

Thank you so much Recyclops! It’s so exciting to have a pilot program right on our doorstep that’s making hard-to-recycle items not such a challenge to keep out of the landfill anymore!




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