Green businesses are those taking a proactive approach to solving environmental problems or who incorporate sustainable and environmentally-friendly practices into their business model. According to a 2019 study done by the University College London, the United States green economy is “estimated to generate over $1.3 trillion in revenue per year” and employs more than 9.5 million people. In the past several years, Savannah has seen more environmentally-purposed businesses launch. Read on to learn about three young Savannah startups leveraging recycling to grow the circular economy.

COR Compost

Image of COR Compost’s website at www.corcompost.com.

Do you compost your food waste? Did you know that 50% of our trash is compostable?

Founded by Michael Wedum and Maria Vaughan, COR Compost’s mission is to remedy a broken cycle and create nutrient-dense living soil in the process. They aim to divert 40% of what is viewed as trash into a valuable agricultural resource through composting. They achieve this by offering educational workshops, composting tools and resources, and pick-up/drop-off service options for both residential and commercial markets.

In terms of curbside service, pick-up is available at $15 per month every other week or $20 per month every week. If you are not sure what food items are compostable, the COR Compost website includes an educational video with a list of what can be composted. You can also find COR Compost at the Forsyth Farmer’s Market every Saturday morning from 9a-1p for drop-off.

Sign up and learn more at their website:

https://www.corcompost.com

WaySmart

Expanded polystyrene (EPS), more commonly referred to as Styrofoam or foam, poses a major threat to the environment when it ends up in the lanfill. In fact, when this non-biodegradeable material is thrown away, studies show that it can take hundreds of years (sometimes even one million depending on environmental conditions!), for EPS to break down in landfills. This is bad for a number of reasons, but mainly if foam sits in the landfills for years it releases harmful chemicals into the environment and poses a threat to wildlife that may eat it. Additionally, if burned, foam becomes toxic. Unfortunately it’s estimated that 77% of foam produced each year ends up in the landfill.

Founders Katherine Guest and Robert Gadd wanted to help solve this problem and so they started the only foam recycling company in the region.

WaySmart’s mission is to keep EPS out of our trash bins, landfills, and natural environment. WaySmart takes in recycled foam and densifies it using a special machine to create a new reusable material. This material can be melted, molded and repurposed into a number of materials such as fencing, furniture, flooring and more!

Robert Gadd, CFO (Chief Foam Officer) of WaySmart, hands foam to WaySmart employee Jabari Brown, who places it in the company’s foam densifiery.

You can learn about what types of foam WaySmart recycles by visiting their site (www.waysmart.com/news-blog/learn-what-types-of-foam-waysmart-accepts). They have a blog with educational information on the benefits of both commercial and residential recycling. Contact WaySmart to arrange a curbside pickup for your EPS Foam via their Foam Fetcher van servicing the area. You can call whenever you’re ready or prearrange for regularly scheduled pickup services if you’re a business amassing a large amount of EPS foam every week or month. Pickup rates in Savannah are $25 and $40+ outside city limits based on your location. WaySmart’s Foam Fetcher service can represent a cost savings for larger organizations compared with placing excess EPS waste into dumpsters headed for the landfill. You can also drop off your foam at the Chatham County Recycling Center on Eisenhower Drive in Savannah.

Learn more and contact WaySmart by visiting their website:

https://www.waysmart.com/recycle-your-foam

Lammergeier Glass Recycling

Lammergeier Glass Recycling is an innovative glass recycling company leading efforts to reduce the carbon footprint in our environment and reduce recidivism in our community. The company was founded by Malena Gauss and is the first glass recycling company in the city of Savannah. Another positive benefit of Lammergeier is that it provides free counseling, job skills training, & employment services for men and women reintegrating back into the community from the prison system through the Opportunity for Returning Citizens to Land Employment (O.R.C.L.E.) Initiative.

Lammergeier provides pick-up services to ten different locations in Savannah and surrounding areas. For residential customers, the company offers both monthly and bi-weekly pick-up options and price depends on the location and frequency of pick-up. Commercial pick-up cost is based on volume of glass being recycled.

The company offers a rewards system for customers paying at a $15 monthly pick-up rate. The reward system is points-based, with points depending on the type and quantity of glass recycled. Once customers reach a certain credit level, they can then cash in their points for discounts at local businesses.

Image from www.savannahglassrecycling.com detailing Lammergeier’s reward system.

To learn more about Lammergeier and schedule glass pick-up in your area visit:

https://savannahglassrecycling.com

Want to learn more about the benefits of a circular economy as related to the green industry? Click here.

Savannah’s Earth Day month is coming up this April 2021! Savannah-Chatham Sustainability Coalition (SCSC) is partnering with local nonprofits to co-coordinate and publicize “Earth Day Savannah Month.” This will be a sustainable and safe way for businesses and environmental nonprofits to connect with the public and strengthen the environmental network in our community. The month-long event will be a celebration of Earth Day in April, featuring a collective of virtual and small, in-person events. Learn more here.