Recycling & Upcycling

Dirty blue surgical mask on the ground covered in a few fallen leaves.

A discarded mask was one of the many types of litter resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. (Andy Mabbett/Creative Commons 4.0)

Northwestern University
From neighborhood cleanup to city-wide effort, Cleanup Club Chicago organizes volunteers in an effort to address plastic litter pollution.

The New York State Bottle Bill financially incentives collectors to recycle wasted cans and bottles. Westside Value Redemption in Buffalo, NY provides a safe and dignified center for collectors to trade in bottles for compensation. (Eva Sideris)

SUNY Environmental Science and Forestry
In this video, learn how the New York State Bottle Bill financially incentives collectors to recycle wasted cans and bottles as well as gives less fortunate people a reliable and dignified way to earn a living. 
Fashion designer, Ngwane Liz poses while wearing one of her garments.

Fashion designer, Ngwane Liz poses at Down Beach Limbe wearing an up-cycled dress from her "NWF" collection. (No Waste Factory)

Mandela Washington Fellow
The cost of staying fashionable goes beyond the price tag to the environment. Sustainable Fashion designer Ngwane Liz is reversing the fast fashion trend by patching pieces of tossed clothes into new garments.
A man wearing a blue button-down shirt, with a white mask in his shirt pocket, tan pants, and a bright blue hardhat, stands in front of a large stack of primarily gray plastic bricks.

Nelson Boateng, founder and Chief Executive Officer of NelPlast Eco Ghana Limited, stands in front of some of his award-winning bricks made from recycled plastic. (Photo courtesy Nelson Boateng)

Mandela Washington Fellow
A former tech worker turned eco-entrepreneur in Ghana works to intercept plastics on the way to the landfill by repurposing the plastic into an award-winning building product.
Four shots of a model in a black and white colored tunic
George Washington University
Through fashion, Brazilian designer Daniel Davilla detects the intrinsic beauty of “junk” and molds it into a garment that appeals to all audiences.

(Photo by Hannah Richter/ University of Chicago)

University of Chicago
Composting is a growing practice that diverts food waste from greenhouse gas-producing landfills; Chicago colleges provide a case study into how this practice can be implemented more broadly today.
Planet Forward Senior Correspondent
The invention of plastic has transformed human life. Plastics are incredibly convenient, and far more affordable than alternative materials. However, the downsides are overwhelming.

New York restaurant, Blue Hill, was one of the first to prioritize ultra-local sourcing. (Lou Stejskal)

The George Washington University
To lower their environmental impact, restaurants are transitioning their operations to be more sustainable and climate friendly.
Secondhand shop

Shopping secondhand — in person or online — is good for both the economy and for the environment. (Pixabay)

George Washington University
While retail is struggling because of the COVID-19 pandemic, secondhand shopping is booming. This is an unexpected win for sustainability.

(Photo courtesy of Forbi Perise)

George Washington University
Plastic pollution is an issue prevalent all throughout Cameroon. One man saw the problem as a challenge to help. Now, he's recycling and upcycling plastic bottles — and inspiring a movement.

Pages