Don’t Talk in Circles: Keep It Simple, Attainable, and Consistent

October 31, 2018
Rachelson, David
Vice President of Sustainability, Rubicon Global

The concept of a circular economy is gaining traction, yet many people still don’t understand exactly what circularity means or how to attain it. The circular economy is one that strives to extend the life of materials and extract the embedded, long-term, regenerative value—a stark contrast to the prevailing, yet unsustainable, make-take-landfill model. Our company, Rubicon Global, is a technology company rooted in the world of waste, recycling, and sustainability with a clear mission: to end waste in all of its forms.

Expounding upon the tried-and-true 3 R’s (reduce, reuse, recycle), we wanted to provide cities and businesses with a practical guide to help them break through the confusion and improve their waste programs and initiatives. The result was a six-step system we called the RUBICONMethod, which is a playbook to capitalize on the movement toward zero waste and to embrace sustainability and the circular economy.

In order to achieve a circular economy, it’s critical to simplify the process and achieve mass buy-in. The RUBICONMethod appeals to a wide range of audiences with tangible takeaways that any business can embrace and apply. The RUBICONMethod—with the acronym DIVERT—is made up of the following six steps:

  • Determine the current state of the waste and recycling program, accepted materials, and local regulations, and the needs, goals, and opportunities of the program.
  • Initiate a new plan for waste and recycling collection that includes optimized services and hauler schedules.
  • Vocalize the program improvements to staff, vendors, and custodians; designate what to recycle through picture-based bin signage; and evangelize internal team leaders for feedback and questions.
  • Eliminate food waste, disposable tableware, and non-recyclables from daily use wherever possible.
  • Roll out side-by-side bin stations, color-coded bin liners (landfill, recycling, compost), and bins for donations and hard-to-recycle materials.
  • Track your recycling rates and bin contamination, sustainability goals, and reporting of those results.

Rubicon has attributed a few key considerations to the successful early adoption of the RUBICONMethod, which other businesses can apply to their own efforts: 

Keep It Simple

We created a six-step process because it breaks the idea of a circular economy—at times a lofty and overwhelming concept—into bite-sized pieces. Simplicity is key when communicating such a complex and potentially confusing idea.

Make It Attainable

The circular economy sounds great in theory, but is it actually realistic? Rubicon thinks so, and we wanted our customers and the general public to think so as well. The process includes tangible takeaways that nearly any business can apply. From using color-coded bin liners for different types of waste, to communicating waste processes with custodial staff, the RUBICONMethod is packed with practical tips and advice.

Be Consistent

Once key messages have been established, it’s important to be consistent across multiple channels. This grants the opportunity to reach more people, and it helps to drive home the most important messages multiple times. The RUBICONMethod is part of our DNA and how we talk to customers and prospects every day.

Sustainability is a journey. Incremental steps can lead to big changes, and at Rubicon, we believe in the power of change to end waste.