EVOECO: Sustainability on a Personal Level

William Zhou is the CEO of EVOECO, a startup based in Seattle. He and his team are making an environmental difference by helping people sort their trash during day to day activities. EVOECO is addressing a hidden problem. By having separate bins for recycling, compost and landfill, manufacturers force the burden of proper disposal onto consumers. A responsibility that is not typically factored into daily purchasing decisions. To make matters worse, consumers often lack the necessary knowledge of proper disposal. When consumers are confronted with these bins, they are paralyzed by the sudden confusion of how to proceed. Most give up instantaneously and default to landfill. Others give it a few seconds thought and properly dispose the parts they are sure of and landfill the rest.

To help remedy this problem, EVOECO produces an electronic bin with a large display that gives useful information on how to dispose of waste. The bin is also equipped with an array of sensors. These sensors gather data that is then used to calculate the environmental impact of the bin. Nowadays, whenever the public talks about environmental impact, the subject is always scoped to a global scale which alienates the average citizen. By providing facts on how much energy or clean water is saved at the bin, EVOECO personalizes the conversation and gives consumers a sense of empowerment.

EVOECO is addressing the hidden complexity of consumerism. Manufacturers unknowingly shift the responsibility of proper disposal to the consumers. We have local and federal government systems in place to help but it still is not enough. Not all producers comply with proper labeling and the problem is exacerbated with imported and exported products.

In a city like Seattle, people want to make an environmental impact. Often times those intentions result in small actions that help every now and then. However there are teams of people out there who are making a difference by raising awareness and empowering others. EVOECO is made up of only a small team of college undergraduates and graduates and they are doing just that. They saw a sustainability problem and produced a solution that can have an immediate impact on the existing waste disposal cycle and that is no small feat.

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