Community Recycling’s Lisa Pomerantz: Innovation with Heart
Community Recycling connects cultures across the world with its textile reuse programs.
How does one take an ancient industry like textile recycling and revolutionize it? At Community Recycling, we have been working very hard and fast to promote REUSE and literally reinvent how we do textile recycling. We have chosen a path within our industry and think we have cultivated the grounds of legacy and readied it for breakthrough.
Community Recycling has not tested the marketplace, but wow, are we excited! So excited, in fact, that we put new programs out there, (hopefully) learn our lessons, course-correct as needed and keep on going. That is how we will become industry leaders.
We decided to start with the need to disrupt the anonymity that is so rampant in our world. We thought about it and rethought about it, until we were confident that what we needed to do was awaken the hearts and emotions behind the act of textile recycling. We wanted very much to inspire the part of “us” that seeks connection and elevate that feeling through the act of filling a bag with your gently unused “stuff.”
We baked the tools of social media into our DNA with content that is visual, fun, engaging and enlightening. Then, we built around that social connectivity a world of convenience, transparency and overall good feeling.
Recycle your shoes, Find Your SoleMate
We brought the ancient mystique of “message in a bottle” to life with our shoe-recycling platform. Our goal was to have our recyclers think about the people who would be wearing their shoes in the near future — the SoleMates. By bringing that humanity into the recycling equation, we hoped that people would consider how reusable and rewearable their shoes actually are.
In order to be convenient, we ship groups (schools, nonprofits, brands, retailers and large employers) boxes that are prelabeled to come right back. Just fill them with quality, reusable shoes and we are off. To date, more than 1,400 groups across 46 states have collected more 500,000 pounds of shoes, raising funds and seeking SoleMates all along the way.
People Recycling for People
This program is designed specifically for K-5. Instead of holding a school clothing drive, we createdcurriculum to support REUSE that will engage, teach and entertain,allowing kids to learn about diverse cultures around the globe where there clothes will go. This environmental project focuses on sustainability, geography, social studies, language, art and a global mapping project that adds depth to the act of collection for reuse. The more clothes, bags, belts and shoes collected, the more funds and rewards they can earn. We even bridge classroom connectivity here in the U.S. with classrooms around the globe, rethinking “local” by literally bringing communities closer via Skype.
People Recycling for People
Like most communities, textile waste is a huge burden on campuses, especially on clean-out/move-out days. We offer customizable solutions for every type of campus situation, making textile recycling convenient and easy for students, faculty and surrounding neighborhoods. Community Recycling works to find a future use for all clothes, linens, shoes, bags, belts, bikes, electronics and more that didn’t make it home via trains, planes or automobiles. This saves the campus in disposal fees, helps the environment and helps the more than 70% of the global population that depends on affordable options. Through reuse, we are creating a new mentality of “sharing forward,” rather than the disposable culture to which we have become accustomed.
People Recycling for People
What if you could pack up your box of clothes, shoes, bags, belts and linens, seal it up, add a free shipping label and hand it to your postal worker? Community Recycling is making textile recycling as easy as mailing a letter, and as meaningful as changing the world! We have simply transformed what “local” means, and included your community — any community — with our community.
Our free shipping label allows you to think differently about how you “share forward” your gently used things. The convenience of home allows you to de-clutter and clean out whenever you need. The accessibility of your postal worker means you never have to leave the house. Mother Earth will smile each and every time you participate.
We have a lot more up our sleeves and more to talk about soon. Until then, we hope we have piqued your curiosity and expanded your viewpoint around all things clothing and textile recycling. Please join us in recycling your stuff as if the world depended on it! It does!
Lisa Pomerantz has proudly worn the “green geek in residence” hat with every position she has ever worked. Her 20+ years of entrepreneurial experience — with a focus on marketing, communication, PR and relationship building — has taken her on a wonderful journey across values-driven companies. Green is her passion and she wears it proudly and loudly.Today, Lisa is the VP of Marketing and Business Development at Community Recycling. She is responsible for new business-model development, communication, educational tools and implementation and overall shouting from the rooftops for all the good we do along with the people and companies we do good with. ShoeBox Recycling, CR Kids, CR Campus, and CR Home are just a few examples of new business models developed, with many other wonderful and innovative ideas currently in incubation.