A real case for upcycling instead of landfilling

As more companies look for ways to upcycle their unwanted materials, more waste is diverted from our landfills

As more companies look for ways to upcycle their unwanted materials, they divert waste from our landfills

I was perusing old emails and came across one that not only was interesting but inspiring.

I’ve written a number of articles about the growing trend of upcycling. It’s much more than simply recycling something. It’s taking what once was considered trash and turning it into something useful, giving it a second life

The article I found was a case study regarding a scheduled demolition and renovation of a 190-room Ramada Inn hotel in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania  Rather than simply landfill everything, IRN Recycling of New Hampshire was called in to manage the “surplus property for reuse.”  Bear in mind that the property included the hotel, a restaurant, bar, conference/banquet facilities and a 3,000 square foot commercial kitchen. The total was over 4,500 items.

Everything had to be out before the renovation could begin. And IRN only had eleven days head-start, which included a midweek Christmas holiday.

You have to give kudos to IRN and to Ramada Inn for thinking outside the box here. How easy it would have been to simply cart everything to the landfill and move ahead with the renovation – out with the old and in with the new. Instead, they looked at the larger picture and discovered some pretty valuable materials that could be given a  new life.

For example:

  • about 1.7 tons was recycled as scrap metal could be recycled
  • more than 150 televisions weighing some 10,000 pounds were recycled
Companies operating with a triple bottom line are making a huge difference

Companies operating with a triple bottom line are making a huge difference

Amazingly, the reuse+recycling rate for the project was 96.7 percent. Approximately 3.5 tons of non-usable, non-recyclable material ended up being sent to a local disposal facility.

But the story gets better.

IRN matched the hotel inventory with Salesian Missions, a Catholic-based religious order that’s considered  the largest provider of vocational and technical training in the world.  Salesian Missions, which works in 130 countries to help alleviate poverty for the world’s youth, placed the surplus for community development in El Salvador.

Remarkably, IRN completed their Herculean task in nine days – two days early.

This is just one example of how corporations can make a huge difference by rethinking what’s in front of them.

IRN is a company committed to the triple bottom line – People Planet Profit. This is also a major tenet of a B Corporation, a growing business trend focused on societal, environmental and profit-making issues, all being equally important. As more companies commit themselves to operating this way, they and the people who work for them will make the kind of difference we wish our government leaders would make. Perhaps  leading by this kind of example will inspire some of our politicians towards this direction?

Miracles do happen.


One Response

  1. Well it is amazing how far we have come, from dump sites to landfills, to recycling. Now we are in the “ Advanced Tech Association-Application” phase, where we are moving from Low Tech stewardship to High Tech repurposing and capture, from inorganic or organic.

    Up-cycling is this part of the new philosophy extension of “better use practices”.

    Great; repurpose, reshore and recycle(RRR); it is going to be an exciting decade.

    Terry O’Malley, CEO


    Dallas, Texas.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: