Founding Member Spotlight
Retrievr envisions a world where people, cities and brands work together to easily return value to our unwanted items, building the circular economy together. Their goal is to make the doorstep collection of electronics and apparel as easy and ubiquitous as paper, bottles and cans.
Why did you become a founding member?
At Retrievr, we believe that increasing collection rates of hard-to-recycle items is one of the keys to unlocking circularity. After that, we have to figure out how to create circular systems for the remanufacturing of these items – ideally in a localized way. We know that Circular Philadelphia and our members are the braintrust that will help figure this out for our region. And, fun facts: our company, our founder and our CEO were all born in the Philadelphia area so we are very happy to be doing this important and timely work in and with our hometown community.
What does a circular economy mean to your company?
We exist to help propel the circular economy forward. For us, there is no other option than to shift our current linear, wasteful economy to a circular one – where nothing is wasted, where people and our biosphere are respected and treasured.
How is your company practicing circularity?
At our core, by coming to their door, we make it easy for people to recycle electronics and apparel. In this way we aim to increase residential recycling rates for these items.
From there, our practice is ever-evolving.
Today, on the electronics side, we know what to do with the items that we receive. We can work with companies who have best practices and internationally recognized certifications around their environmental, health and safety practices; and for data security. These companies refurbish and repair as much as possible and get products out onto the second hand market for reuse. What can’t be reused is, as much as possible, recycled responsibly into new gadgets and goods.
On the apparel recycling side, we are witnessing the birth of an industry. There are no standard practices for the recycling of textiles, clothing and shoes; no best practices or certifications, little transparency, no silver bullet solutions at scale. There is a need for more sortation solutions; sorting for resale, upcycling, downcycling and recycling (as the solutions come online). This is where we are evolving to, with an eye towards a robust clothing and textile sorting facility for the region. This will bring the transparency we need, while creating jobs and feedstock for emerging solutions.
How can others advance the circular economy?
It’s the old axiom : 1) Reduce 2) Reuse 3)Recycle – and if you can’t figure out how to recycle it, call us and we will come to 4) Retrieve!