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Scanning innovation to ‘transform’ recycling?

United States – US company Earth911 has been heralded the winner of the inaugural Recycling Innovators Forum competition, part of the Resource Recycling Conference held in Kentucky earlier this month. The judges believed that its idea of putting barcodes on recyclable products that can be scanned by smartphones has the potential to ‘transform’ the recycling industry.

Earth911’s concept instantly leads consumers to a website that provides the recycling specifics of the product in question, tailoring information to a user’s own location. It beat some 50 other concepts spanning everything from plastic composites with bio-content to float/sink separation of polypropylene and HDPE.

Judges said they were impressed by the practical and mobile nature of the winning idea. Earth911 was awarded US$ 20 000 in prize money to help realise the project.

The runner-up, GreenMantra, received US$ 5000 in financial support for its method to create industrial waxes from recycled plastics. In third place was PointGuard Pallet Protector, which was given US$ 2000 to support the development of a recycled plastic product designed to extend the lifespan of shipping pallets.

The Recycling Innovators Forum praised the large number of ‘fresh and creative ideas’ aired during the competition, hailing this as an ‘encouraging’ sign that continuous progress is being made to capture more materials for recovery and recycling.

For more information, visit: www.earth911.com

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