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As humans, we often forget that we are part of a larger whole. Everything is connected, yet as consumers, we are disconnected from waste management. This gap urges us to question: where does my garbage go?

On Trash Magic’s most recent episode, Andy Smerek connected with hosts Sara Fuentes and Oakley Jennings-Fast to dig into what really happens with garbage after we dispose of it.

Andy is a waste management expert and Founder of Clementine Curbside, a compost hauling operation that empowers customers through transparent, informative, and actionable services. Clementine was initially founded because of the lack of resources and systems that enable consumers to properly dispose of recycling and compost. Clementine recognized the structural gaps within waste management and the need for foundational change; the company knew what must be done in order to create a positive impact.

Clementine empowers customers to be connected to the waste they produce. They gamify the experience by tapping into technology to personalize feedback on each pickup. Clementine customers receive text messages and notifications via an application to track the amount of waste diverted from the landfill and the associated statistics of positive environmental impact. Clementine also provides customers with tips on best practices for composting and helpful hints on how to improve.

Download the My Clementine app – Your personalized composting portal!

Clementine customers are the people who are willing to make small changes in order to generate a large, positive impact. They are the families who understand that unless we shift our behavior, the world will be unrecognizable for their children and future generations to come. They act upon the knowledge they receive from Clementine’s hauling reports and evolve their habits; they share information with their communities and generate a powerful ripple effect. Their commitment to creating a better world changes waste management systems for the better.

During the podcast, Andy shared a story about the challenges encountered in the waste management business and a time when Clementine almost faded away as a business. However, their customers understood the acute need for a company like Clementine and were not willing to let the company fail. At a time when many haulers could not keep up, Clementine was able to survive because of their community. The company is now thriving and is strengthened by a proven fact: individuals can make a difference.

Clementine knows that the fastest way to enact change is through people, and the future is bright. Consumers are beginning to realize the importance of being more connected to the waste they produce, and they are craving transparency; consumers are in need of waste haulers like Clementine to help them answer questions and also adopt good habits.

Clementine Curbside exists because we need it to exist – and it will continue to evolve because it’s important; the world needs it. The company hauls the compost themselves, weighs every collection, logs contamination, and provides feedback. Clementine takes the time to share personalized education with their customers because optimized curbside composting and recycling leads to more materials diverted, a more robust recycling system, and a healthier planet for all of us.

Andy completing a pickup with their compost hauling truck, Ruby.

In a niche industry, it is easy to connect the dots: every process and every person is connected. Clementine understands this interconnected relationship and uses it as fuel during their daily hauls and auditing. They dig into garbage because they care about customers, the health of the planet, and the future.

As the population continues to grow, we must address the finite space in landfills and embrace solutions. Waste impacts the climate, soil, groundwater, and more. The foundational structures of waste management need to be addressed and changed; we must evolve this aspect of our culture. Companies like Clementine Curbside address waste management systems and structures at the foundational level, which begins with individuals, families, and communities.

In order to become successful environmental stewards as a whole, we start with ourselves. Only then can we tap into the tools, resources, and companies that care in order to make the shift to a healthier planet.


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