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Recycle Week 2022: The Greyparrot team reflect on what recycling means to them

Alisa PritchardAlisa Pritchard, Oct 19, 2022

Recycle Week 2022: The Greyparrot team reflect on what recycling means to them

Recycle Week 2022 is upon us. 

Each year, Recycle Now pick a theme for the week. This year, they’ve chosen one that acknowledges our progress — but reflects the need for further change: Let’s get real about recycling

In their words,

“We’re getting real. About where we are. Where we want to be. And how we’re all going to get there together.”

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Recycle Week at Greyparrot ♻️

At Greyparrot, we’re working closely on applying AI to those challenges every day. Recycle Week is a chance to step back and remind ourselves why we’re dedicating our time to surfacing real-time waste composition data.

On Monday, we gathered to learn about what motivates our teammates, and asked a simple question: what does recycling mean to you? 

Here's what they said. 

 

Environmental responsibility 🌎

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Recycling means protecting our environment for future generations, as much as it does keeping it clean today. Becoming a father has put that into perspective, especially.”

— Harry Davies, Chief of Staff 💡

For many of us, recycling is synonymous with environmental responsibility. We’re aiming to keep the planet clean by unlocking the financial value of waste, and it’s a personal mission for several members of the team.

It’s also one that unifies us:

It’s important for protecting wildlife and ecosystems, conserving our natural resources and reducing carbon emissions. It can also bring people together, and show that we share the same values.”

— Lou-Ann Raymond, Head of Hardware 🤖

Lou-Ann’s right about the positive impact recycling can have on emissions. WRAP estimates that recycling reduces the UK’s annual CO2 emissions by 18 million tonnes. That’s over 5% of the country’s CO2 emissions every year, but it should be much higher.

‘Getting real’ means acknowledging that there’s still a lot of room to improve. Dirk saw that for himself in Thailand:

“During my two years there, I’d see pristine beaches during the tourist season. In the off-season, you’d be up to your knees in plastic on the same beaches. It makes you reconsider what you do with your own waste on a daily basis, and where it ends up.”

— Dirk Cziesla, Senior Software Engineer ⚙️

 

Changing our relationship with waste 💚

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“Every object we throw in the recycling bin should come back into our lives in a new life form.”

— Ambarish Mitra, co-founder and CPO 🔁

Part of ‘getting real’ also means acknowledging that recycling is complex, and change has to happen at a strategic level, too.

Our co-founders weighed in on their motivation to encourage systemic change. 

“Recycling is about valuing waste materials as resources, and intentionally putting them back into our system.”

— Mikela Druckman, co-founder and CEO 💚

Despite the financial value of waste objects, we’re not returning as much of them to the circular economy as we could be.

We’ve seen it for ourselves — in one year, our monitoring units identified over £1.6 million worth of reusable material lost to landfill  at a single British PRF. In order to increase recycling rates, there needs to be investment in more efficient, accurate processes.

Enthusiasm for that investment will rely in part on the way we view our waste at home, but in reality, it also relies on change at an economic level. For that, we’ll need data:

“We should of course do our best to recycle properly at home, but it’s risky to rely on cultural change alone. If we can prove a product isn’t being recycled, for example, we can create pressure and incentives for producers to create new, more recyclable alternatives.”

— Nikola Sivacki, co-founder and Senior Deep Learning Engineer ⚙️

 

Getting real beyond Recycle Week 🚀

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“Recycling to me is about respect for the material. It’s about recognising that the value of material is in its benefit to us as a community, and not just as a commodity.”

— Matthew Steventon, Business Development Manager 👊

Whether we’re passionate about a more sustainable future or a changing relationship with waste, our whole team shares a common goal: to keep the planet clean by increasing transparency and automation in recycling.

Our Recycle Week conversation was both motivating and daunting. We were reminded of the inspiration and thought that goes into what we do at Greyparrot, but also of the very real challenges that we’re tackling.

It’s a big task, and it requires diverse experience. If you recognise your own motivations in any of our team’s answers — or have a new perspective that you think could help us achieve our goals — check out our careers page.

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