More than 175 million items were purchased during Amazon’s 2019 Prime Day event last week. With the help of Seattle’s new recycling startup, Ridwell, hard-to-recycle Amazon packaging waste will be picked up for free from non-Ridwell members in the Seattle service area now through August 1st. Anyone interested can sign up here to be notified when the pickups are scheduled.
Founded last summer, Ridwell hopes to make a large impact by recycling Amazon packaging the right way (and other things, keep reading). Too often these materials are placed incorrectly in curbside bins which puts stress on our already struggling recycling systems. Alternatively, many people throw these plastics in the garbage where they are buried in a landfill instead of recycled into new things.
We had the chance to connect with founder Ryan Metzger about Ridwell, its services, and his vision for the company.
Seattleite: What was the catalyst for founding Ridwell?
Ryan Metzger: It started as a father and son weekend project. My 6 year-old son and I would go around to our neighbor’s houses and collect batteries, styrofoam, and electronics to recycle them properly. As word spread, demand increased and it was too much to handle for our team of two.
Seattleite: What items does Ridwell pick up?
Metzger: We have four core categories: batteries, light bulbs, threads, and plastic film. We also have a rotating fifth category which can range from eyeglasses to tennis balls to styrofoam and halloween candy. See the full list here.
Seattleite: What neighborhoods does Ridwell serve?
Metzger: We cover almost all of Seattle, Mercer Island, and most of Shoreline. When you type in your zip code into our website, we will let you know if we serve your area.
Seattleite: How does the sign-up process work?
Metzger: We have three membership choices right now: 3 months, 6 months, and 1 year. Our most popular package is the 1 year subscription which comes out to $10 per month. Once signing up, we will give you bags to store your batteries, light bulbs, plastic film, and threads. You will also get a box that you can place right outside your door (this might be your lobby if you’re in a high-rise).
Learn more about pricing here.
Seattleite: What’s your vision for Ridwell?
Metzger: We are looking to expand to other areas in the Puget Sound. We are interested in finding more gaps, adding additional categories, and enabling more reuse. We’d also love to be able to serve entire apartment or condo buildings in the future.