Saru is a new sustainability project aiming for a partnership with the UC System to bring convenient recycling to students throughout California. Currently there is a shortage of accessible recycling facilities, and existing 'blue bins' on campuses do not enable students to recollect the California Refund Value (CRV) they are owed. Saru seeks to change recycling for good.
A solar-powered outdoor recycling unit that identifies and sorts recyclable material. The unit allocates CRV directly back to the user, instantly.
The recycling unit is complimented by a mobile application for users, allowing for convenient interface with the unit for fast and easy recycling.
Host campuses are able to access the status of each unit through web service analytics and notifications to simplify waste management.
New Initiatives, Modern Vision
Current efforts fall short
More than 60 million plastic bottles are thrown into landfills or incinerated every day, with many more aluminum cans and glass bottles going to waste. According to National Geographic, nearly 91% of all plastic goes unrecycled. This is a waste of resources and harms the environment. Recycling helps to mitigate this harm, but even individuals who care about the environment currently lack additional incentives to recycle. Our country is in the midst of a global climate crisis and we cannot afford to ignore the need for compelling solutions to waste reduction. California alone runs a staggering recycling deficit. Although recycling is critically important to mitigating the amount of waste sent to landfills and conserving natural resources, its reclamation is often lost by the consumer given the inefficiency and inconvenience of modern recycling methods.
Within the last 5 years, 40% of California’s recycling centers have closed. Every year, increasing labor and logistical overhead causes firms to run massive deficits that are passed to the consumer. Whenever you buy a beverage, you pay into a California Refund Value fund, and upon recycling you earn that money back. Now, more than ever, people are recycling less, leaving citizens to lose out on CRV.
Right now, students everywhere are stuck in the first line of the CRV value chain, often by virtue of inaccessibilty and inconvenience. Saru aims to continue the value chain by bringing the recycling center to the student, not the other way around. By extending the chain, we can pass even more benefits to students. In addition to our promise of instant CRV redemption, Saru is allowed by the state to offer higher rates than other competitors using ‘flex rates,’ due to our increased scrap profits from sorting and stream cleanliness.