When is comes to innovations in recycling, people talk a lot about making it easier. If you make recycling easier then more and more people will do it.
Liz and Jeff Helfrich are making recycling easier with the Solecan. The Solecan is a unique single can trash/recycling solution. It has two separate sides–one for regular waste, one for recycling–that easily snap together to help you recycle.
You can see the Solecan in action in the video at the end of this interview. Or, if you want to see it now, scroll down and click play.
1. What are 4 things that anyone can do right now to be a better recycler?
Jeff: Convenience. Convenience. Convenience. Convenience. People only recycle if it is convenient. If you want to improve recycling rates at home or in the office, then make it more convenient to recycle. Many studies have shown that the number one thing you can to do be a better recycler now is to make recycling more convenient for yourself.
2. You are the inventor of the Solecan. What is a Solecan?
Jeff: Actually, I am co-inventor of the Solecan with my wife, Liz. The Solecan is a dual compartment receptacle with trash on one side and recycling on the other. It snaps apart to make emptying the separate compartments a breeze. It will be made from 100% recycled plastic.
3. Why are you interested in sustainability?
Jeff: Mostly because Liz insists! Happy wife, happy life as they say.
4. What is most exciting to you inside the field of sustainability?
Jeff: I really am impressed with all the innovative things people are doing. When you think about sustainability, a lot of it revolves around simply reducing waste and using resources better. This saves money as well as resources. Who couldn’t like that? I love to see people take something that was previously waste and turn it into a useful product or solution. I am just so blown away by the kind of creative ideas people come up with when they start to think in a sustainable way.
5. What are things that you do at your home to be more green?
Jeff: As you’d expect from the inventors of a recycling trash can, we try to recycle in every room. We also compost food scraps. Lately, we have been replacing our light bulbs as they burn out with LED bulbs. They cost more upfront, but should result in long-term savings and use a lot less energy.
6. You are in Dallas. How would you rate the City of Dallas in their sustainability efforts?
Jeff: Dallas is probably better at sustainability than its reputation might suggest. The city recently passed a zero waste plan. Of course, I think it set targets for something like 2040. Let’s just say we aren’t going to be San Francisco overnight, but we are taking some steps! Dallas also has a pretty good water conservation effort although it is more by force than choice I think.
7. What Dallas-based company do you feel is a leader in helping the public become better recyclers?
Jeff: I’d actually like to highlight a commercial recycler: Balcones Resources. I had a chance to meet them at Earth Day Dallas. While the city provides recycling to all homes, less than 30% of office buildings recycle. Balcone’s helps out those businesses who wish to recycle and they do a good job of community outreach and education if their showing at Earth Day Dallas was anything.
8. Where can I purchase the Solecan?
Jeff: The Solecan will hopefully be available in stores soon. If you are a retailer or distributor and you would like to carry the Solecan please contact us. If you are a consumer you can enter your contact info and we will email you when Solecan is available for purchase. Be sure to like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter for updates on our progress.
9. What is your favorite outdoor activity?
10. How do you practice Leave No Trace when you are outside?
Jeff: If I see a piece of trash I pick it up and throw it away (or recycle).
11. What is your favorite raw food?
Jeff: I love shashimi. Tuna is a favorite.
12. Ben & Jerry’s? What is your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Jeff: Mint Chocolate Cookie for me.