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Town Haul Podcast / Episode 2

TOWN HAUL PODCAST

Welcome to the Town Haul Podcast

HOSTED BY AMY KOONIN

Rubicon’s first and only podcast where we share advice for techies, earth lovers and for penny pinchers!

Transcript

Don’t Be Trashy! Recycle

Introduction to the Town Haul Rubicon Podcast

Interviewer: [00:00] Hey guys my name is Amy Conan and I’m your host for the Town Haul Rubicon’s first and only Podcast we share advice for techies, for art lovers and for Penny Pinchers. As much as I love the sound of my own voice, this broadcast is going to rely heavily on Guests with subject matter experts on everything ranging from how to get your small business up and running, interviews with some of the brains behind your favorite apps and even how to remove garbage from out of space.

You never know who’s going to pop up and join me next in the studio so make sure to subscribe to the Town Haul on iTunes to get our episodes downloaded directly. And if your Boss is making you work through lunch or your commute is just too short and you missed something awesome, don’t worry we’ve got your back you can check out our blog for recaps, reviews and all things Town Haul.

Amy: Hey everyone! Welcome to The Town Haul, today I’m joined in studio by David who is Rubicon’s Vice President of sustainability and one of my favorite people in the office. And I brought David in today because we’re both so lucky to be joined via Skype by {Mitch Edlyn} of Recycle Across America. How are you doing?

Mitch: Great, thank you so much for inviting me to be part of this Podcast and by the way I love the name of the Podcast, Town Haul- it shows you are fabulous.

Amy: Thank you that was you know; it came to me in a dream like Moses. I’m so excited to have you on today because unfortunately, I am a wasteful spoiled millennial all and David gets really, really, really mad at me every day when I walk into the office with a styrofoam cup of coffee but in my defense, I never learnt about recycling before I started Rubicon 4months ago. I never knew the importance of placing items in the proper containers so that they can be reused, I just didn’t know why, I was doing it and that’s why we have you here today to try to teach me and all of our listeners some of the basics, to really talk about Recycle American in general and how we can all do our part. So, let’s just jump right in and try to talk a little bit about you and your role and everything.

Mitch: Yeah absolutely and well I think you just summed up what is kind of a common misunderstanding about recycling and the importance of it in our society and you know I’ll share with you in just a bit why that is the case and what we’re working to do to remedy that but I think it is really important to reinforce how critical recycling is. I say this often and I want somebody to challenge me on it because I think you know we can make a strong case for it; recycling is truly the number one thing that we can do for our species to be sustainable on this planet. I think we have to use the word sustainable but in the sense that I’m using it, I am saying that it is really a bad Math equation to have an increasing exponentially increasing human population that tends to use and use and use without putting things back into the system to reuse. And when you have an exponentially growing human species and you have limited finite natural resources for us to exist on, that is truly a bad Math equation and there is nothing absolutely nothing that compares to recycling and the ability to affect and to make our species truly sustainable on this planet both for the environment, for improving the economy, for mitigating climate change, for helping manufacturers who are truly wanting to close loop, even to help prevent waste from going into the oceans. So, recycling is really that homerun for all of us and yet I think it is really under-respected and understood by the general public and I think the reason for that is the case in fact I’m 100% sure of it we prove it every day is that the way that recycling is presented to the general public is very confusing. Everywhere you go, it looks completely different, bins look different, labels look different, they’re often ineffective labels and confusing and one way or the other there are very; there’s just no consistency to it whatsoever. And recycling feels very optional right now and that when recycling is presented to all of us, to you and David and everybody else [5:00] that’s listening right now including the 320 plus million people in this country, when it is presented in a very confusing way everywhere we go, people just don’t take it seriously and the ones that do, have a hard time doing it right because it is confusing. And the other part of the population that might not understand its value becomes apathetic about recycling. So, they sometimes are throwing anything in the bin and then there’s another part of the population and unfortunately this grows every day that is skeptical about recycling and so they literally are throwing anything in the bin not even trying. So, you know that’s what we’re here to talk about today but I think your comment to the beginning of this in your candid honesty is a great opening to our discussion.

The Confusion with Recycling 

Amy: I mean I’m not lying, David can tell you; it’s a conversation that we’ve had several times, I think that until you work in a better way, you don’t really understand the importance. I asked a bunch of my friends last Saturday told them that you know I was having you on today and I said “What’s one thing I should ask?” and everybody asked, “Why is recycling so confusing?” You know why and where does it go and what happened so what’s Recycle Across America as you know voice in that journey? You know, how do they kind of dictate what’s happening in the recycling world?

Mitch: Yeah, you know why is it so confusing? I think that is an amazing question to ask and one that I like to answer. Well, the part that I like to answer is how we can prevent it from being confusing? What most people don’t know which is one of the reasons why it’s confusing is there are there’s truthfully, I think when it comes down to is and you might be learning this now and I know Rubicon is really familiar with this but there are some really serious conflicts of interest in the industry. You know, some of the most dominant sources in the recycling industry in the US are also the owners of [inaudible 7:11] and it’s really funny you say you know be approached say that and whisper it but it needs to be sad it’s not illegal for them to have that conflict of interest it’s a business model that’s pretty strong in the US and I would equate that to you know if there’s organizations that profit really promote road safety and yet they own body shops and malls and hospitals. There’s a very definite conflict of interest if recycling doesn’t work and the other side of those businesses, the other side of the fence in those businesses thrive and so, that is a barrier and these are the things that I learned about pretty quickly once I invented and kind of brought this solution of standardized labels to fruition and it really was an eye opener for me to realize that some of the dynamics behind the scenes with recycling is very counterproductive. But there are a lot of things on the very strong side of recycling that can outweigh that conflict of interest and we can talk about that as well. But that is one of the kind of the hidden secrets in the industry and that is a barrier to recycling truly thriving and if you’re OK with that, I can expound on it a little bit if you’d like.

Amy: Yeah absolutely! I’ll also like you to talk about how you got started, I mean this is a really cool story and I know a lot of people want to hear you know how did you come up with this idea?

Mitch: Absolutely well, really it is the back that we’re all confused at the bin so I have been in Branding and Communications in my professional life and I had the opportunity to really start getting into sustainable communications about 12years ago or 13years ago. And as I was working with businesses and organizations and airports and retailers and some small businesses and large corporations, whenever I meet with them and we talk about sustainability they would inevitably want to talk about the recycling program first. And it’s not really a surprise because when you think about the thing that’s kind of the most green recognized to action for all of us it really is recycling. So, they would start talking about the recycling and inevitably, they would all say the same thing, it was the same complaint, they would say that [10:00] they don’t understand why their employees or their visitors or their students keep throwing trash in the recycling bin and why the recycling bowls are going into the trash can. And they usually would show me their bins and I would look at them and sure enough the inside of the recycling bin looked just like the inside of a trash bin of the contents for the same which was mixed in garbage and recycling and highly contaminated with the recycling bin. And I started looking at the labels and at the same time I was hearing this over and over again, I started drawing on my own personal experience and thinking you know what? “I am that person, I think I’ve been that person walking up to the bin at the airport thinking why don’t I know what to do?” And as I was having that revelation about my own personal experience, I literally was at the Chicago O’Hare Airport standing over been saying this is that moment where I’m confused and this man walked up in front of me and literally threw a dirty diaper into the recycling bin where I was just about put my newspaper and my on shoes bottled. I wasn’t quite sure if I should put the men there together or not but he came in and just turned a dirty diaper and he said it’s probably all going to land well anyway. As soon as that happened, I started multiplying that and saying what if nobody is ever really recognizing this issue yet? And what if this is a chronic issue across the US? What happens behind the band or in cross posting I should say if we’re all confused at the bin? So then I started doing some research on the processes behind the bin and starting to see what the challenges are economically per recycling when we’re all making mistakes and it is devastating. At that time when I came up with this idea and this whole process, oil prices was high at that time. So, recycling had a bit of a stronger market and was maybe a little bit more worthy of going out all those millions of dirty diapers and I mean that literally. But I also saw that the wheels were about to fall off the wagon that contamination issue such a big issue, it can bring down the recycling house and it can really prevent manufacturers from meaning about three these materials so that was the genesis of it all.

Recycling Labels & Major American Companies

David:And Mitch this is David, it’s a great hit to hear how that story came about and we are proud to use The Recycle Across American labels in our office and actually those are the things that I share with Amy to help her understand you know as a new member of the Rubicon Team and someone who is truly committed to trying to understand this where things go and I’m proud to say that she’s now using reusable cups and has gotten rid of the styrofoam but you know I think folks like myself and you Mitch and others you know, it becomes second nature how to do it and you know we should never forget how challenging it is to folks who don’t do it every day and live and breathe it. You know with that said, what is an example of maybe one of your coolest recycling make overs or success stories that you’ve had to Recycle Across America and how could the lessons that you had from that be applicable to do some of the people listening today and other people interested in improving?

Mitch: Yeah I think there are so many of them so I started with the standardized labels, I put it out on a website, I created a website Recycle Across America and put the labels out there and really just put it out there just to see how it is, anybody else agree with me got message seems to come in sense but let’s just see what happens when I put it out there. And I think at the time, our website Recycle Across America probably launched on page6 of Google and where everything probably starts but within a very short amount of time, it organically completely on its own became the top search for recycling labels on Google and it quickly became a viral movement and so today, we’ve called on one organization to use the labels, otherwise it’s been completely viral. So, Disney are 80,000 employees down in Florida, the only labels that they see and on the employee area bands right now is the standardized labels that crossed over to ADC which is a Disney Company and Disneyland and Pixar and Disney motion pictures and so it’s becoming their brand standard for the recycling bins throughout all of Disney enterprise globally. Bank of America has started rolling out the labels throughout all of their operations throughout the US. There’s just been so much really cool things to witness for these big brands are carrying out this mission. But I think the one that’s the most exciting for [15:00] us right now is that the labels are now in US Stadiums and they’re going to be used for the Super Bowl and continuing on through the stadium but we’re super excited for them to be used in the Super Bowl and already since they’ve been in place which is only been about a month and a half. The labels are; they’ve already seen double digit increases in the recycling levels and literally the recycling that we’ve seen in those bins is pristine, I mean just beautiful and talk to about Alexa earlier Amy and we went to a Vikings game or team did and literally Alex and Alexa was skipping and hopping and jumping from one bin to the next getting photos because it was so beautiful, it was so clean in there and there were two bins out of about 700 and there sets of 3 so there are about 2100bins actually but there were 2bins that didn’t have our labels on yet and no bins that show the recycling that didn’t have our labels were highly contaminated and at the same game with 67,000 people in attendance. So, you know that’s type of thing at super exciting for us and to be part of the Super Bowl is just [inaudible 16:22]. And the other thing that I’m personally really excited about having traveled as much as I do right now, is to see if Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport is throwing up a standardized label starting out the airport before Super Bowl also and the bins are best stunning. They’ll be implemented and rolled out in the next 3weeks but it’s just; those are some of the really, really exciting ones but I could go on and on with the improvements with the recycling levels and the decrease in contamination and the savings from so many of our users that are now using standardized labels.

Celebrities in Recycling Industry & Home Recycling

Amy: And there are so many big brands and you have some many cool things like Super Bowl, Disney and you also have a lot of faces in addition to brand. So you know, to be honest with you, I mean Larry touched on it we got out my out terrible Rubicon I am when it comes to recycling, but also I knew anything about Recycling Across America, I knew that Kristen and I knew that when my Celebrity crushes your was about as well, as I have seen on social media. So tell me a little bit like how do you create some of these campaigns? How do you get these people involved? And what’s that impact because I understand the Super Bowl but it’s really interesting to see especially now that I know that you have a brand marketing background, how are you utilizing influence in marketing happen some of the people listening you know us on social media and get involved and see the celebrity stuff going on?

Mitch: Absolutely it’s funny because a lot of people say, “Well how do you get those celebrities involved?” First of all, it started with [inaudible 18:05] which is a great L’Oreal brand, who’s been a partner of ours since I first launched this they reached out to us a person here that I started this and brought a couple of celebrities with them when they approached us and started supporting us. Mark Brown, Rosario Dawson, I mean really remarkable wonderful celebrities and not only engaged those celebrities but and opened up the door for other celebrities to start looking and being aware of what we’re doing. And they donate, the celebrities donate their time, their voice, their employs in this mission and the reason that they have said Yes, is because I’ve actually asked them, “Have you been confused at the bin? Have you found yourself at the airport or your children’s school or maybe even in your own kitchen or at the studio, do you find yourself confused when you walk up to the recycling bin?” And just like everybody else, like “Oh my God, completely” You now Bill Maher went on and on saying, “Oh my God, even in my own kitchen and I want to do the right thing, why does it have to be so confusing?” and then they realize it doesn’t have to be so confusing, we can fix this, you know we it’s like standardized street signs, stop signs and speed limit signs you know we know what to do when we go from one street the next, when the speed limit changes, we know what to do when we come up to a stop sign, it’s a reflex because all of that information is always presented in the exact same way. And all of us as drivers have only gone through Driver’s education once in our lives and that’s all it took. We have the ability to fix these issues with recycling and introducing the standardized labels is that solution and to train children and people once why recycling is important and then putting a standardized labeling system on recycling bins so we can all start to act on our good [20:00] intentions as a reflex wherever we go. So, the celebrities are very much just like us where they said, “Oh my God, I’m totally against this, it’s confusing, it doesn’t have to be, there’s a solution” And I’m not talking just about a problem which gets exhausting, you’re actually delivering a solution and they say we want to be part of this. And I just want to share one thing about that, it’s been so cool, one of our ads, we’ve got a lot of great magazines and billboard companies that have been using the PSA campaigns which is so exciting. One of our ads was in a magazine up in Boston and one of the EVPs or executives from Bank of America had been at a dealership waiting for her car to be serviced for her husband or something. At the dealership, she picked up a mag this magazine and she’s paging through it and she sees one of our ads with Angie Harmon on it and for the first time, she learns about what we’re doing because of that ad and as a result of that, that’s why Bank America has been rolling out a standardized labels, they piloted it in their corporate offices, they saw an automatic improvements in the recycling, in the quality of the recycling and then they started rolling it out throughout the US and they donated standardized labels to all the K-12 schools in Orlando and in that first school year, The Orlando School Districts recycling levels went up 90% after using the standardized labels and the school districts saved more than $369,000 in their first full year from trash hauling savings and that’s net savings. So, when we go back to Angie Harmon and say thank you so much for being part of this campaign, it’s because of your ad that Bank of America found out about us and the solution and it’s because of Bank of America that Orlando Public Schools and now Atlanta Public Schools are benefiting from this solution in these real ways and that gets Angie super excited to be a part of this PS campaign and has led to about 40celebrities to be on board.

David: And as a Parent of a kid at the Atlanta Public Schools, I was very excited to hear about your partnership with that school system and I’ve told my kindergarten Son to make sure that he keeps an eye out for those labels.

Small Business Recycling & First Steps

Mitch: That’s so good to hear, I forgot that you’re actually in Atlanta I am thinking DC but that’s right you’re there.

David: So that’s very exciting and you know, I think it really resonated what you said about the traffic signs and how you take that for granted but you first need to be taught on how to respond to them. And you know recycling in you know disposing of materials is more complex then turning off a light when you leave a room or turning off a faucet and there are decisions to be made and that that first decision about which been to put in in has so much impact about the ability to recycle and re-use materials that that’s why you know we are so excited about promoting and having more and more small businesses and consumers to start to understand this. This is a Podcast about small business, we’re trying to connect with them and so what advice would you give a small business owner who you know has a lot of competing interests probably not as much staff support as some of the larger companies?

Mitch: It doesn’t have a time and Education

David: That’s exactly right, you know in addition obviously to using the label which I think is a probably the best first step they could take, what else could they do tangibly on a daily basis to start impacting how they treat their waste?

Mitch: Yeah, I think there’s a couple things (1) we have a recycling tool kit that anyone can download from our website it’s a PDF and it really just talks about what we think is common sense but it isn’t. You know every Business Owner, every School, every Teacher, everybody has something else on their mind, they need when they’re going to set up a recycling program, they need just some basic guidelines of how do we make it successful? And so in that toolkit we have what we are saying are the national standards for colors for bins, what types of bins are affective? Where to place the labels on your bins? Where to place a bin in your building? They need to be side by side, don’t put your trash in one corner and recycling in another, recycling trash compost they all [25:00] need to be very close to each other side by side. Don’t put your recycling in plastic bags and put it in the recycling dumpster often most hollers do not; they don’t want the recycling or the plastic bags at all so empty your recycling into the recycling dumpster and then recycle your plastic bag or re-use it or you have to throw it away but don’t put it in the recycling bin and don’t put your recyclables in the plastic bag, It’s a deal breaker often for hollers and recycling facilities. So that tool kit is a really easy way for them to create a successful real recycling program and use standardized labels. And then also obviously paying attention to what companies or small businesses are purchasing good packaging that is recyclable and look for volume packaging versus lots of small packaging. Avoid lots of over packaging if you can and then for us, we ask everybody to sign the Mayor’s petition that we have on our website we want you know here I mean you know him or her excuse me that came out of the left field but Rubicon and you know your partners to help get US Mayors on board because the more that we can have US Mayor saying, “Yes, we need to start adopting this just like they would adopt a standardized a stop sign program or speed limit sign program in their community to help people drive properly, we need cities to start adopting a solution throughout the US. So, for a small business, they want to kind of go beyond their skin or beyond the walls of their building it would be great to have them sign up on that Mayor’s petition on our website and if they’re interested in donating labels to K-12 schools, we really welcome that also, we have about 750,000 labels that have been donated to K-12 Schools and we’re looking for another million on standardized labels to be donated to K-12 Schools. So those are some other ways to get involved.

Amy: Before I was at Rubicon, I worked at a restaurant, so the number one question people always asked, “Where is the best …in Atlanta? Where’s your favorite hamburger?” So I know and that was you know always asked of my daily life in my personal life, so you tell people what you do, what is the number one question that people ask you about recycling?

Getting Right Items in the Recycling Bin

Mitch: Oh my God, they ask, “Is this a recyclable bowl? Give me an example” and I’ll say I don’t know nobody tells me if this is recyclable or not and I put it in the bin is that OK? Whatever that item is maybe it’s their strawberry container or maybe it’s plastic razor for their legs, I mean these are the questions that nobody is really making it clear to answer on a National level and people are getting some buy so things everywhere which seems that they’re starting to tune out what to do. And so I think on a national level, part of our messaging is: “When in doubt, throw it out” I know that feels bad but it’s far better to make sure that all the really, really good things that you know are fully recyclable are going in the recycling bin such as all aluminum cans and metal cans, such as all plastic bottles with necks and plastic you know plastic jugs and paper, clean paper no food soil, paper and cardboard. The more that we get those basic items into the bin, into the recycling bin and make sure that they’re all going in there and not to worry about the plastic razor and not worry about the strawberry container or some of the things that we don’t know about; if we can just make sure that they really good materials are getting in the right and that there are no plastic bags which hopefully people are choosing not to use them anyway but if they are that they absolutely do not put any plastic bags or plastic film or wrappers in the recycling bin, take it to their recycling station at a grocery store they have one or a retailer that might have a plastic bag recycling program. If we just did that on a national level, it would dramatically change the environment I mean the hands down and the economy and it would help manufacturers have access to good stuff. So those are the really basics, “When in doubt, throw it out” but never allow that stuff to go in the trash bin always make sure it gets into a recycling bin.

David: [30:00] I mean that makes so much sense you know when you think about it and you know but beyond that, working with the cities, working with the Cities, Small businesses like we’re doing to get more and more people educated, I think over time that will mean that they’ll be less so they throw out because they’ll be more knowledgeable about what they can throw in if you will in the recycling bin.

China Recycling Industry & Changing Standards

Mitch: Yeah absolutely, I think there’s going to be a shift I mean if we can get US Mayors and Small Businesses and Large Businesses and with the help of Rubicon and others, if we can get the basics and get a standardized labels demonstrating the basics throughout the US in the first couple of years, of the US are really recycling right that’s a dramatic change per CO2 levels, cost savings or growing that employment levels, increasing jobs all of that and preventing waste from going into the oceans. That alone is a major change and then that becomes a springboard to look at OK, “What is the next thing that we can do on a national level that can increase what we’re capturing?” You know other types of materials and open up markets or some of those B-ring materials. But right now, when there’s so much confusion about all these different types of packaging and obvious to context of materials, it’s confusing people so much that they’re not even caring about aluminum cans anymore and we can see that every day that we walk up and down the street or drive down that road, where an aluminum can is littered or it’s going right into the trash bin, it’s just not even thought about. So, we need to get recycling to the point where or presenting recycling to the public which recycling doesn’t work most of the public’s doing it right, we have to get to the point where we’re presenting recycling in such a clean and simple and consistent way with standardized labeling that it’s just a reflex and once we do that, then we as an industry and as a national community can start increasing the new materials that can be you know really advanced to recycling the public will be ready for but until then, it’s dysfunctional to the point where you know serious issue which we’re seeing with this National Policy from China where they’re really kind of doubling down on no recycling from the US and that is going to create a very, very slippery slope that we’re already on it’s just going to make it a little worse not excuse those issues right now.

David: Yeah, I was actually going to ask you about that and its overall impact and do you think that it could in some ways have a positive impact in that it forces the US waste recycling industry and just the US market as a whole to start to address the sources of the destinations that these materials could go to.

Mitch: Yeah, when I started this which was 8 years ago or 7 years ago when I came up with the idea was 8years ago, contamination was a huge issue at that time which is why I started this but the markets were still pretty strong because of the oil pricing was different, China was still willing to buy the junk recycling that we’re selling to them even though they were telling us to clean it up they were giving us warnings, the US that is when I say we. So there are things where the problem is still there, in fact the problem has been there for decades now with recycling that isn’t as good quality, that’s too expensive to process and too highly contaminated. But nobody is fixing it because of that conflict of interest and also people aren’t fixing it enough because it’s too a low grade if that makes sense to you and so when China in 2013 came out with the green fence policy where they planned and said, “Alright, we’ve been warning you to clean up the recycling that we’re buying from you otherwise we’re going to stop buying from you” Nobody took that warning seriously, they just kept selling China for recycling and China would get those big bales and their cargo ships into China and they’d be elements see that they were highly contaminated and the warnings weren’t enough and of course then the dominant forces in [35:00] the recycling industry sat down and thought well, “Let’s look at this a little objectively actually, what happens if we don’t work on the contamination?” What happens if China and creates a green fence policy and starts halting some of the purchasing of the US? If we make a public statement same go are we really love recycling but unfortunately it’s just not profitable with the low ices and international markets have changed. It’s just recycling just isn’t profitable right now if those dominant recycling industry leaders that own the landfills used that language which they did, it would create a slippery slope and a lack of confidence in recycling in the US which it did and it created a collapse in recycling which is happening right now to 450recycling plants have been shut down and in the state of California alone. They did that because saying ultimately as a business decision knows if they create a lack of confidence in the recycling market landfill revenues will skyrocket and that’s exactly what’s happened. Well now from 2013, we’re now into 2017 and China is being even more strict about what they’re going to accept from the US. I mean they’re really going to cut us back now; they already made that declaration by 2018. And I think because of that conflict of interest that we talked about between these dominant or in the recycling industry also by having their other fly in the landfill Industry there isn’t great motivation for the big dominant forces to change anything because they’ve already seen that by the collapse in recycling their revenues on the landfill site skyrocket but the good news is and that’s try this out too long but the good news is, at the same time that that dynamic is taking place, there is more companies like Unilever, like General Motors, like Coke and Pepsi are have made very public strong claims to increase the amount per cycle content in their manufacturing so the demand is increasing and of course at the same time that the wheels are kind of falling off the recycling wagon with China but that increase of demand for materials from CPG companies, consumer packaged goods companies can be the thing that gets everybody on board to say recycling isn’t working, we do need to fix it, we do need to make it profitable and the only way to do that is to get less contamination in the bin and the only way to do that is to the bins are labels for the public. So, long drawn out answer is, I do believe that go on from a low grade fever to actually having real pain and having signs of serious breakage is the thing that’s going to make recycling start to thrive and I think we are at that point right now where people are starting to take this very seriously and were happy I’m personally very happy that it’s waking people up because they are; they’re adopting a solution I mean we have we’re growing exponentially right now and it’s just increasing multiples continuously every month. So, that is a direct result of the fact that people are really worried that that recycling is in great danger in the US and the CPG companies that need the materials I think they should become the greatest advocates for standardized labels because they truly need to get these materials back it’s becoming a shareholder issue even.

Garbage Disposal Problems & Getting Mayors on Board

David: That was great and I think it was Winston Churchill who said, “Never let a good crisis go to waste” so hopefully as you know you know there is a crisis out there and for the people listening I think it’s actually you know we’re talking about national sword and green fences you know as it’s kind of a common term but for the people listening, you know I don’t think it’s common knowledge that the United States exports a lot of its waste and that’s what we’re talking about is that China in particular is putting up very strict rules and regulations about the ways that it will accept and they’ve gone to the World Trade Organization to file a claim against accepting certain materials which you know as Mitch just said so eloquently is causing a reverberation in the US waste and recycling industry.

[40:00] Amy: And learn why lines even if they haven’t in. Reading style and not cash has seriously to go, we never haven’t talked about that yet.

David: But you made a great point Mitch about the procurement side of it you know if the coffee shop where Amy goes in the morning you know bought something that was more accepted as a recycled material you know she wouldn’t even have that problem in the first place.

Mitch: Right yeah others there’s some I think we have to get to the point when it comes down to us we really have to get to the point of using the National Society wide microphone on these issues. We need to do and this is what we’re working on the celebrity campaign. Rubicon because you know you guys have amazing partners and you have a lot of connections and so many different layers and I think we need to all bound together and check yesterday I was in San Francisco and I met with one of our amazing partners that is just rolling out the standardized labels and as a matter of fact I am was brought up at the time seem they are Kaizer Permanente and they are one as they are actually the largest health care hospital medical organization in the US, it’s a privately owned non-profit I should say. But that they are the largest and they are so excited about advancing their recycling program in adopting a standardized labels out there in the country but there are operations and they want to bring together their entire industry to say let’s adopt this. So that you know when you go to Kaizer hospital and you see the standard as labels and if you go to the Mayo Clinic you see the same labels and if you go to the hospital at the Rhode Island you see the same labels and they’re very interested in pulling together political Mayors etc political forces in the cities where they operate they know they have influence to talk to the mayors and to really get these standardized label from the whole city because they also understand and this is true for a small business and I don’t want to discourage anyone from you know doing their part but we need to get to the point where the standardized stop sign isn’t just someone intersection in that city because of a good business owner that wants it there or the school, we need to get it where it’s everywhere so that when people are going up and down the street throughout the entire city they know what to do. If we’ve got one building that is using standardized labels and there were cycling levels are increasing in the contamination is down but everywhere up and down that street is still confusing and people are apathetic and throwing dirty diapers, that actually negatively impacts the great effort of that one building that’s doing it right. And cities have financial benefits to getting their recycling program and making it work. Recycling programs and city or for business our very expensive at and as you know for your business model when a city gets it right when a School gets it right, a university gets it right, an airport or business or small business it’s it works and it can be a cost savings for them but so we need to, we really need to scale things up on a national level and get some of the basic best practices that were cycling out to the general public on one national with one minute National microphone which is what we wanted to do with the Celebrity campaign and to actually then implement the labels so that people can act on those good intentions easily so the idea of partnering with through the Congress has been somebody that we’ve ‘Oh my gosh’ I think Nate and I probably started our organizations and about the same time. And I’ve watched Rubicon grow and it’s been so exciting to watch that and I know you guys have been watching us grow so we’re just happy we’re still sitting by your side and we’re fixing recycling in the US.

Q&A with Mitch

Amy: Recycling in the US now we’re drawn department together dangerous marketplace and now it’s out was it in the resources like you sense it really amplify that top international microphone together we’re really, really lucky to have you with you so much for joining us today, before I let you go I asked my yes and I know that you know you’re special you’re you know this state really big wave but it doesn’t have an Issue it’s you get a job free card so I want to now first and foremost what is your go to Karaoke song?

Mitch: Oh my gosh

Amy: I mean these are not harder than recycling questions, I promise.

Mitch: [45:00] Seriously, I should never ever, ever do karaoke. I have got a serious curse where I absolutely love singing and I am completely turned up and I am terrible at it but there’s, I mean there are so many songs that I like. Anything from Sheryl Crow to share to John Mayer you know to I mean you just it’s a full Spectrum. But yeah you ever, ever you know nobody should ever, ever be drunk enough for me to sound good.

David: The same is true for me actually

Amy: So I don’t know if you can tell, David has this real of Barry White voice, so smooth and you don’t want to hear him [No, not at all] and I don’t know why I’m acting like I’m really serious or anything. So you like Sheryl Crow, you like John Mayer, what did you have for breakfast this morning?

Mitch: Not a breakfast. Not usually but I have to so some neighbors came over for bonfire last night and brought a bag of beer chips, beer potato chips which I’ve never heard of or had before and my husband and I have met and I started having a couple and then it led to more and this morning I opened up the cupboard and I’m like just one more.

Amy: So you had beer chips for breakfast?

Mitch: Do not do what I do and don’t do what I say either. So, there’s no usually tree. But this morning I probably had less than a handful because I have serious guilt related to Chips beer potato chips.

Amy: And this is the last one, I guess typically this is the toughest one. Is there any after death or alive play with your life look like you and why?

Mitch: Oh my goodness. I don’t get this connection at all and my husband any movies with Julia Roberts he’s like you are and he’s probably thinking of Erin Brockovich because I have a bit of that and in me and considering my name is Michelle but I go by Mitch with an ‘M’ and just to clarify that you know and in case I’ve been called Erin Brockovich and I think if anything, I hear that occasionally. But not because I look like her, I wish I did it was probably as about personality she portrays.

Conclusion & Goodbyes

Amy: Mitch, thank you so much this has been fantastic, we’re so happy to have you, we’re so excited to be partners with Recycle Across America. I know that this is not the only Podcast we’ll be doing with you, we might even meet our new recycling guru and may be our new VP of sustainability what do you to think?

David: I mean Mitch is very knowledgeable.

Mitch: I think you can see how about covered and trust me I am there are not enough hours in the day and days in a week. So, I’m good thank you.

David: Thank you so much.

Amy: Thank you

Mitch: You guys were amazing, say hi to everybody for me including {inaudible 48:34} And I’m kidding about that but oh is that obviously And David you have to see Princess Bride I’ll understand.

David: I will put that on my agenda for the week you also will have both Elizabeth an {} to know that we had a great time here and thank you again, we are very appreciative for your time and helping our listeners understand some of these very important issues around how they can be better recyclers.

Mitch: Yeah, well absolutely it just you know let’s recycle right when in doubt don’t be afraid of throw it out and don’t use styrofoam in the office.

Mitch: Anywhere for that matter, I’m so sorry we don’t we don’t mean to quite cares about you at the very end

David: Don’t worry, I do it every day, I point fingers at her every day that this happens.

Amy: You know we’re all work in progress so I’m going to tell you no louder a work in progress and I’m now I’ll be national microphone of recycling and I’m going to be standing between Mark Russell and Bill Maher in the next Recycle Across America Campaign.

Mitch: Absolutely! Let’s do it, let’s do it I think it would be great fun also send you a link for some of our photos from some of our photo shoots and you’ll see it’s really [yeah that’s awesome] super Jazz. So if [50:00] you want to put that up on your website.

Amy: Anything you want is the best that so we’ll just send it we’re not doing that I guess well. Yeah Mitch that was amazing really that was so informative.

Mitch: Well sorry to ramble on but I do think it helps people understand how things are truly in a scene so hopefully it helps them absorb it a little bit more but you know for some people, they just want to know should I put this you know do I have to lick my peanut butter or clean and that’s a good question

Amy: Absolutely, I know that in the brain we’re going to want to recycle Podcast as well and so I’m going to do that is that one thousand more questions and I’m going thousand listeners.

Mitch: Thank you, I’ve really enjoyed it was a pleasure for me as well and if you guys are interested and if Nat and Elizabeth are interested in having a call and I was a bit and having a call and talking about my strategy truly start to scale on getting Mayors involved and truly fixing recycling on a National level, now is the time to do that we welcome that conversation and I think we’ve got some good strategies in place and would love to invite you in that mission.

David: We would love to do that, thank you.

Amy: We would set up a call.

Mitch: Thank you guys, thank you so much and Amy I’m coming to the green side of the balance.

Amy: I’m glad to be here, we’ll talk soon.

Mitch: Take care you two

Amy: You too, bye

Mitch: Bye

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