On April 22, 1970, more than 20 million Americans left school, work and other daily duties to instead report to a new boss: Mother Earth. In all, more than 20 million people gathered in cities across the U.S. to celebrate that first Earth Day, a celebration of environmental protection.
More than half a century later, Claudine Osipow's recycling business, Again Technologies, continues the journey. The company uses mechanical and advanced recycling to transform plastic waste into post-consumer reusable plastics and products.Reach Further recently spoke to Again's CEO to find out where she believes green technology is heading, her plans for integrating transparency through blockchain and how partners like East West Bank are helping green businesses build a better tomorrow.
"Again Technologies' mission is a simple one: No Plastic Left Behind,"" she says from the companys Nashville headquarters. "We offer sustainable and strategic solutions to keep all plastics out of landfills."
It's an admirable goal. After all, the United Nations Environment Program reports that the world's people and businesses produce about 400 million tons of plastic waste every year, and warns that global production of primary plastic may reach 1.1 billion tons by 2050.
The key, Osipow says, remains keeping those tons out of landfills, something exceedingly difficult - especially for a female business owner in an industry with limited gender diversity.
"That hasn't slowed us down, she says. "We understand the full supply chain, from collection and sourcing, logistics, processing and formulation to end product specification. And we've worked hard to create an economically-positive model so that, regardless of anyone else's support, we can make an impact every day."
In 2022, that impact resounds across industries.
"We're working on several exciting solutions right now, Claudine says. "Some are for the electronic and flexible packaging industries, where we've identified end markets and are now moving up the supply chain to align the required resources to bring these solutions to communities worldwide."
Ultimately, Again forecasts that these new technologies will ride the technological rails of the blockchain, allowing Again's customers to track their full contribution to the global effort - from drop-off to recycling to regeneration as feedstock for another future use.
"We have an incredible, experienced team that believes in our responsibility to make a difference," Osipow tells Reach Further. "We're bringing best-in-class remedies to our global waste crisis, and we want our customers to know there are options if they really want to choose sustainable solutions."
Claudine and Again Technologies also had options when choosing the right banking partner. They chose East West Bank.
"We were interested in finding a bank relationship that was supportive of our sustainability mission," she says. "It was an easy decision for us after we met with [Relationship Manager] Mark Koshnick. He took time to truly understand how we delivered our value platform, wanted us to make a bigger difference and designed an even bigger credit facility to support our mission.
"We are grateful for East West's vision in our space."
This recycling visionary - who's been in the industry for more than 30 years - also thinks there's plenty that each of us can do to make our own difference.
"Stay positive that we each can do our part to help reduce negative climate impacts,"" she says. "First and foremost, reduce, and when you can't reduce, then repurpose. When that is no longer an option, keep demanding that brands make sure their products go somewhere - because between mechanical-, solvent- and advanced-recycling solutions, all plastics can be recycled."
It's a confident notion that echoes the 1970 sentiments of Earth Day's first organizers - by encouraging global consumers to use materials again and again.
"My parents taught me at a young age I could make a difference," Claudine says. "And I don't think anyone who believes in what they are doing should let anyone or anything stop them."
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