Sep 21, 2022 - Economy

We're not talking enough about trash

Photo: Riccardo Savi/Getty Images for Concordia Summit

Trash is not sexy, it's not fun — it's literally the stuff we want to forget about the moment we throw it away. But the truth is, according to Miniwiz founder and CEO Arthur Huang, nearly everything we use can be remade into something else, creating a true circular economy.

Driving the news: During a main stage chat with Hope at the annual Concordia sustainability summit in New York yesterday, Huang showed off an entire wardrobe — suit, shirt and tie — made from recycled polyester yarn.

  • Showing people transformed trash in action can help change negative consumer perceptions about it, he said. 

Why it matters: Landfills, waste and garbage are often left out of the sustainability conversation. In reality, they produce gasses that contribute to global warming, and represent existing resources that could cut down on the need for new raw materials.

How Miniwiz’s technology works: Huang describes Miniwiz’s technology as a kitchen that buys its ingredients (trash) from waste management companies, and then cooks up everything from building materials to portable wireless chargers using coffee cups, bottle caps, clear salad box containers and even PPE.

Yes, but: The success of endeavors like Huang’s are difficult to achieve and hard to replicate. Contributing to the challenge are the ways in which waste management industries operate and the outdated nature of supply chains.

What they’re saying: Trash and resource management are currently too centralized, says Huang.

  • Miniwiz had to figure out how to decentralize it as simply and cost-effectively as possible, he said. 

What to watch: Huang says he’s working to bring his “trashlab” to different cities around the world.

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