We write a lot about upcycling, or the practice of reusing products for new purposes to prevent waste. Now DMD Green, an environmental management consulting company, wants to make the process even easier with its new SocialCycling program, which takes items that are nearly impossible (or impossible) to recycle and finds new uses for them.
The program, announced earlier this month, gathers reclaimed materials and post-consumer products from DMD Green clients at a central SocialCycling site. Once at the site, products are separated and delivered to artisans, manufacturers, and anyone else who might have use for them. PVC scrap, for example, is being given to workrooms in Africa to be turned into lining for backpacks. So SocialCycling simultaneously solves a disposal problem for a company and provides a service to African consumers.
In order to make sure its products don't end up in a landfill in China, SocialCycling monitors upcycled materials and products every step of the way. The program keeps a close eye on the chain of custody for its materials and offers a certification to organizations that meet its criteria of accuracy and transparency. In a way, SocialCycling isn't all that different from Terracycle. But instead of marketing its own upcycling products, SocialCycling acts as a central hub for givers and receivers of scrap material—kind of like a Craigslist for unrecyclable stuff.