Founding Member Spotlight
Did you know that most, if not all, glass that you put in the blue bin ends up discarded and not recycled? Bottle Underground is transforming Philadelphia’s glass recycling system to one that actually works. Their advocacy for better materials management in Philly is critical to building the circular economy in the region, and they are leading the way in their own operations. Circular Philadelphia is lucky to collaborate with Bottle Underground, OLIN Labs and Bennett Compost on a glass sand project that could serve as a model for future circular materials innovation in the city.
Why did you become a founding member?
We believe in a future that reconsiders “waste” — not as invaluable trash, but as a resource that can support the organizations right here in Philadelphia. And we know that the only way to fundamentally change that system is by working together.
What does a circular economy mean to your organization?
A circular economy means examining where our materials are going post-consumption, stopping it from going to the landfill, and recirculating it back into our city’s economy. Simple in theory but complex in practice.
How is your organization practicing circularity?
Circularity is fundamental to our entire organization. We collect bottles and jars from local businesses and community members, and recirculate them in the Philadelphia area. That can look like cleaning and delabeling a jar to turn into packaging for a local candlemaker, or crushing it down into sand and replanting it with compost along the Schuylkill river banks.
How can others advance the circular economy?
Our power as consumers is in making thoughtful decisions about what we purchase, how we reuse it, and where we discard it. We have the power to demand more of our government and producers.