Eco-train is thrilled to announce a partnership with PLAEX Building Systems to provide the most sustainable end-of-use solution for old phone and tablet cases. I recently met with PLAEX’s CEO and Founder, Dustin Bowers to see if phone and tablet cases could be used as a feed stock material for their proprietary composite building materials.
After some preliminary testing – all signs point to YES! Going forward, all phone and tablet cases collected by our eastern Canadian retail partners will now be sent to PLAEX. The team at PLAEX will incorporate these materials into their proprietary composite, interlocking building systems.
PLAEX has worked together with the construction industry to create a robust system that can meet and exceed industry standards, as well as stand up to the increasing environmental demands created by climate change.
Eco-Train is proud to offer the wireless industry a ground breaking solution for the PLASTIC WASTE generated by the Phone Case Industry.
Eco-train is excited to announce the first leg of Canada wide “Emission Free” Tour is now complete. Bob visited with cell phone dealers all across Canada to talk about SHARED PRODUCER RESPONSIBILITY and how the CIRCULAR ECONOMY provides the best model to eliminate plastic waste generated by the phone case industry. Bob continues to make his way back to Vancouver, continuing to add retailers to the program so that consumers will have the ability to recycle their old phone and tablet cases, no matter where they live in Canada.
Eco-Train utilized the Tesla Trans-Canada Supercharger network while generating ZERO EMISSIONS along the way.
The full trip from Vancouver to Halifax and back is documented on the following social media pages.
Most individuals would assume almost all of the oxygen we breath comes from trees, and while trees are nothing short of paramount for our existence, diatoms play an unbelievably crucial role in our survival. These single-celled organisms are responsible for 50% of breathable air for all beings. They remove and convert carbon dioxide from the air into oxygen and carbon in the form of sugar. Moreover, using photosynthesis, diatoms produce sugar from the suns energy.
Everyone knows we need to save the trees, but we also need to save the diatoms. The recent rise in climate change is severely affecting diatoms, as their population is inevitably decreasing as a result. Furthermore, diatom populations in different areas are being affected due to floods and droughts, which ultimately affects where they can function and grow.
Diatoms also play a vital role in the food chain. They are food for zooplankton, which are food for a number of other species. Ultimately, the ocean (as well as other water bodies), the species found within these water bodies, and the whole world is dependent on diatoms for survival.
We must not underestimate the capabilities of diatoms. Although they are single-celled microscopic eukaryotes, they have a macroscopic effect on the world.
Most people think of bees as the small, yellow and black insect that makes the sweet, delectable honey that we put in our tea. But in reality, bees are so much more. The world would not be possible without bee’s. Bees give life to all beings. Bees are a unique species that give beauty to the world. But more importantly, bees provide food and life to humans and other animals. Bees are pollinators, and the food chain could not be sustained without pollination. Bees play a vital role in maintaining ecosystems in nature. This allows plants to grow and ecosystems to rejuvenate. Pollination gives life to over 90% of plants on earth. A large portion of the food consumed by humans requires pollination, making bees crucial for our survival. More specifically, bees pollinate over one third of food consumed by humans. To add, not only do bees pollinate plants consumed by humans, but they also play a significant role in the food supply for animals.
We, as humans, need to do our part to maintain the bee population. They are vital in the survival of the human race. Without bees, all ecosystems would be negatively impacted, and the food supply for humans and animals would significantly affected. Plant species could die off, causing other animals to go extinct. Famine would occur in humans without the necessary food that is maintained by bees.
Bees are so much more than small insects. They give life to all species on earth and allow ecosystems to grow and thrive. World Bee Day gives us the opportunity to recognize the significant impact that bees have on the planet, and to do our part to help them do their job of helping us.
Why bees are so important:
Provide food to other species
Pollinate plants all over the world
Give beauty to the earth
Involved in maintaining the food chain
Allow a variety of species to exist with each other
Play a role in the economy for agriculture
What we can do to help bees:
Plant trees, flowers and other species of plants that promote bee pollination
Don’t use insecticides
Support research, charities and organizations committed to helping to sustain the bee population
Educate others on the impact that bees have on the earth
Click on the image to learn more about WORLD BEE DAY!
On World Ocean Day, people everywhere can celebrate and take action for our shared ocean, which connects us all. Get together with your family, community, and /or your company, and join with millions of others around our blue planet to start creating a better future.
By working together, we can — and will — protect and restore our shared ocean. Join this growing global celebration in June and continue to grow the engagement year-round!
Did you know that more than 31 million Canadians own a smartphone? We all rely on phone cases to protect our most indispensable device, but these phone cases contribute to our world’s plastic pollution, ending up in landfills coast-to-coast at an unthinkable rate. We chatted with Bob Cain of Eco-Train: an innovative Canadian start-up in Burnaby, B.C., which is expanding its mission to support earth-friendly products with the launch of Canada’s first-ever national recycling program for cellphone cases. —Vita Daily
Hi Bob! Please tell us a bit about yourself to start.
I grew in St. Catharines, Ontario. I attended Brock University and Niagara College studying Neuroscience and Electronic Engineering Technology. I started my family at a young age and raised three children who are now grown up in their mid to late 20s. My youngest, Lauren, has been very much involved with Eco-Train since day one as the graphic designer for the company. I moved to B.C. at the age of 41 with a keen interest in outdoor activities like mountain biking, hiking and kayaking. I’ve always felt a strong connection to nature and living in B.C. has been a lifelong dream. I’ve been living in B.C. for eight years now. To me, it’s the most perfect place in the world to live, work and play. I’ve worked in the Canadian wireless industry for nearly 20 years and sold a lot of accessories. The vast majority are mostly made of plastic and have been destined to eventually become landfill.
When and why did you launch Eco-Train? What’s your mission?
It was the summer of 2019. I was growing more and more concerned about the state of the environment. Between 2013 and 2018 we saw the five hottest annual temperatures ever recorded globally. Each summer the number of forest fires in B.C. seemed to be growing in number, getting bigger and lasting longer. There were times the entire province was consumed in smoke for a month or more at a time. It’s very troubling not to be able to see mountains 2-3 km away due to the thick cloud of smoke covering the western part of Canada and the U.S. I had also just learned that 20 per cent of the world’s coral had died between 2015 and 2018. More than half of the world’s oxygen comes from plant life in the ocean. I was deeply concerned about the state of the world and just how liveable it would be for our children, grandchildren and future generations. We’re in big trouble if society continues to accept the status quo by behaving, living and doing business the same ways we have in the past. I opened Eco-Train with the goal of spreading awareness about environmental issues while aiming to stimulate the behavioural shift necessary to turn things around. My original plan was to open a retail store and an e-commerce business that would sell exclusively earth friendly products while striving toward achieving a waste free future. Secondly, I wanted to build an awareness app to “train” consumers and businesses to become more sustainable in their everyday activities. Eco-Train commits to creating a sustainable consumer landscape with a focus on advancing the circular economy. We are dedicated to the promotion of Earth-friendly products and resource recovery to eliminate waste.
You most recently rolled out Canada’s first-ever national recycling program for cellphone cases. What’s the problem, environmentally speaking, with these (now) common items?
Shortly after opening Eco-Train, I was tasked with developing the “go to retail” market strategy for two new compostable phone case brands (Pela and Nutrisiti by Uunique London) while also being employed by Hitfar Concepts. I started my research by attending the 2019 Zero Waste Conference, which is held in Vancouver every year by the National Zero Waste Council as well as a Workshop for Compostable Plastics held by the Recycling Council of BC. It is these two events where I learned how catastrophic the global plastic pollution crisis is and that municipal waste management programs in Canada do not recognize compostable plastics in either the green or blue box programs. A significant and troubling gap existed that required immediate attention. I started the Phone Case Recovery program with the goal of educating all stakeholders in our industry about this issue with the goal of implementing an affordable and effective material recovery program to eliminate the waste generated by our industry.
Why can’t municipal recycling depots deal with phone cases?
The vast majority of phone cases are made from different combinations of mixed plastics. These different materials have been moulded together and have different melting points. Therefore, they cannot be recycled by traditional recycling methods. Secondly, even if a phone case is made from a single type of material, like PP#5 for example, the vast majority of North American recycling companies only accept PP#5 packaging like ketchup bottles but not PP#5 products like the Lifeproof WAKE phone case.
What about phone cases touted as sustainably made?
There are a number of phone case brands now making ASTM D6400 certified compostable phone cases. However, compost facilities only accept food waste and paper that break down in 4-6 weeks. They are in the business of selling compost and turning their product out quickly. Compostable phone cases may take up to two years to break down in an industrial compost facility. Therefore, industrial composters take them out and throw them in the garbage anyway. Same thing goes for compostable plastic coffee cup lids or food ware.
How does the Phone Case Recovery Program work?
There are a growing number of Canadian retail partners now supporting this program. Consumers can bring back their old phone cases and drop them in one of our Phone Case Recovery boxes. The retailers ship boxes of these cases back to an Eco-Train sorting facility. Eco-Train removes the compostable Pela cases and sends them back to Pela for either regrind/rebirth into new products, or Pela has the material properly composted. The rest of the cases are sent to one of our recycling partners to shred and grind the material for preparation to be sent to Geocycle for Co-processing. This keeps the material from ever becoming landfill or pollution and provides 100 per cent value recovery of the materials.
Any other common items you have your eye on, in terms of creating better recycling options?
Toys are next. There are mountains of children’s toys thrown away in landfills every year. It’s imperative that we teach children at a young age the importance of recycling and not throwing things away when they are done using them.
Eco-Train Inc. has started a phone case recovery program that recycles phone cases otherwise headed to landfills.
A company headquartered in Burnaby has created a program to keep old phone cases out of landfills – the place they would end up even if they were placed in the blue recycling bin.
Eco-Train Inc. launched the first-of-its-kind phone case recovery program on Global Recycling Day on March 18. The company states that while there are sustainably-made phone cases available, recycling depots will not process them – creating a gap Eco-Train sought to fill. The program aims to unite major mobile accessory brands, retailers, and distributors in a collaborative effort to eliminate landfill waste.
“Eco-Train saw the opportunity to bring business and manufacturers together to share the responsibility for recycling phone cases to encourage and foster a healthy circular economy,” says Bob Cain, CEO and founder at Eco-Train. “Our phone case recovery program offers the most affordable and effective solution to reduce plastic waste generated by the phone case industry in Canada, this means hundreds of tons of waste a year saved from our landfills.”
To recycle your falling-apart phone case with Eco-Train you can use their store locator to find the closest drop-off location to you. Carried by an expanding number of businesses, Eco-Train’s drop off boxes will accept cases made of all materials except those containing batteries or made of metal.
For a sense of scale, more than 31 million Canadians own a smartphone. With smartphone users only holding onto their cases for an average of 25 months, Eco-Train estimates Canadians use 35 million phone cases each year.
“We all rely on phone cases to protect our most indispensable device,” reads a media release from Eco-Train. “These phone cases contribute to our world’s plastic pollution, ending up in landfills coast-to-coast at an unthinkable rate”
To mark Global Recycling Day, the Global Recycling Foundation announced the ten #RecyclingHeroes who have each won a $500 prize thanks to their dedication and innovation in local recycling. The winners were selected from nominations received from several countries across the globe covering all the main continents. Their work spans all parts of the recycling industry from plastic to textiles and household items.
The ten winners are:
Rien Voets, Holland – He is a symbol of the many people who voluntarily work to clean our living environment every day. Since retiring as a Teacher, Rien Voets joined a local Municipality to work as a Volunteer litter picker. He goes out every day on his bike, which has a trailer hooked up to it, to collect litter all around his township.
Green Axis, Nigeria – promoting cleaning and recycling campaign in Enugu city of Nigeria. Working with volunteers who help in organising regular clean up drives collecting recyclables whilst helping to restore the environment to a safe and clean one. The group also run local educational programs on the importance of recycling with the communities.
Abdi Hirsi, Somalia – started as volunteer with a motto of “waste is a resource” and now owns an award-winning pioneer recycling company based in Mogadishu, Somalia. Started first Plastic Recycling plant using World Bank grant, is today serving 17 districts in Mogadishu producing house construction items.
Bokashi Bran (Pty) Ltd, South Africa – promotes the recycling of food waste to compost using their unique bokashi system. To date, it has been instrumental in guiding customers to divert about 30 000 tonnes of food waste from landfill. It manufactures bokashi on a commercial scale while providing training and education on food waste separation at source and composting. Composting food waste cuts GHG by 98%.
EcoAct-Tanzania, a social enterprise, manufacturing eco-friendly building materials from plastic waste by using an in house developed technology “Waxy II Technology” that is chemical free & energy conserving plastic extrusion system. Promoting circular economy whilst preserving forests by reducing consumption of Timber.
International WeLoveU Foundation, Korea – Launched in 2001 from Korea today works in 63 countries associated with UN DGC helping promote the environment by planting trees, clean up campaigns across beaches, parks, communities & even in mountainous areas. In 2020 launched a “Recycling Challenge” campaign to help raise awareness of PPE pollution from the disposable products used during the COVID pandemic.
Dgrade, Dubai UAE – Working with over 200 schools in UAE, promoting beach clean-up campaigns, organising education workshops in increasing collection of plastics which is used in manufacturing sustainable clothing. Working with communities to reduce waste to landfill, increasing participation, a good business community model of participation.
Eco-Train, Canada – A first in the Industry to promote the collection of phone cases in an industry wide collaborative effort. The speed of change in the phone industry sees vast quantities of discarded phone covers and phones, and so promoting recycling in this sector is of utmost importance.
Metal Shredder, Hungary – An innovative way of extracting elements from Xray films and promoting use of recovered silver and extracts used to make filters for use in face masks during the Covid crisis. main focus is the sustainable and efficient recycling of e-waste, extraction of precious and base metals from end-of-life components.
Eco Spindles Private Ltd, Sri Lanka – Largest recycler in Sri Lanka producing yarn using PET flakes circumventing the traditional polymerization process. Have initiated several waste collections drives across Sri Lanka from Fishing harbours, Beach clean-up drives, local communities and schools. Promoting innovative sustainable practices across the country including introduction of a Waste Recycling awareness app for smart phone users.
The #RecyclingHeroes competition, which was launched in February 2020, encouraged people from across the globe to nominate individuals, business or communities that are setting examples and pushing boundaries with their recycling initiatives. In addition to receiving a $500 prize, the Global Recycling Foundation will promote the ten winners’ work to audiences across the world.
The fourth annual Global Recycling Day took place on 18th March with individuals, businesses, cities, and communities marking the day on social media, in their homes and communities. Ranjit S Baxi, Founder and President of the Global Recycling Foundation said: “Once again this year there has been an astonishing variety of entries from countries around the world making it very difficult to select just ten winners. But for us every single entrant is a hero and champion for your contributions in the vital campaign to combat climate change and drive home the message of recycling and sustainability.”
Just in time for Global Recycling Day, Canada’s Eco-Train unites phone case industry (brands, distributors, and retailers alike) in a call-to-action for shoppers to recycle old cellphone cases
Eco-Train continues its mission to support earth-friendly products with the launch of Canada’s first-ever national recycling program for cellphone cases. The first-of-its-kind Phone Case Recycling Program arrives just in time for Global Recycling Day, Thursday March 18 and unites major mobile accessory brands, retailers, and distributors in a collaborative effort to eliminate landfill waste.
Did you know that more than 31 million Canadians own a smartphone? (statista)We all rely on phone cases to protect our most indispensable device. These phone cases contribute to our world’s plastic pollution, ending up in landfills coast-to-coast at an unthinkable rate, in fact:
The average length of smartphone ownership in Canada is 26 months
An average consumer uses 2-3 different cases in that device’s lifetime of 26 months
That means over 35 million phone cases are used in a year, with no disposal solution – until now
You may think when you drop your phone case in the blue bin that it will be recycled – it will not. Recycling depots do not process phone cases, sustainably made or otherwise
Although future-forward mobile accessory brands including LifeProof, Gear4, Mellow and Pela are already producing sustainably made phone cases to satisfy green-friendly shoppers, without the Phone Case Recovery Program, they are all destined for landfill.
It is Eco-Train’s goal to educate business and consumers about the severity of the global plastic pollution crisis, while offering a sustainable solution.
Here’s how it works
Eco-Train, in collaboration with mobile accessory distributors and retailers across Canada has created a network of retail collection points that is expanding daily, check this store locator for the closest location to you. Consumers are encouraged to bring their obsolete, out-of-date phone cases, all materials welcome except those containing batteries or made of metal, to their participating local retailer for recycling.
What it means to be an Eco-Train PLATINUM Sponsor.
Brand helps pay for back end sorting, shredding and preparation of all other non-recyclable cases collected to be put towards a “Waste to Energy” co-processing program.
Brand agrees to take back all their cases recovered through the program to be recycled for rebirth into new products or properly composted in an industrial compost facility.
What it means to be an Eco-Train GOLD Sponsor.
Products must be either ASTM D6400 Certified Compostable or made with a minimum of 50% post consumer recycled plastic.
Must contain zero plastic in the packaging, no poly bags in shipments.
Brand donates a % of profit to Eco Non-Profit organizations.
Brand helps pay for back end sorting, shredding and preparation of all non-recyclable cases collected to be put towards a “Waste to Energy” co-processing program.
What it means to be an Eco-Train SILVER Sponsor.
Silver Sponsorship is open to any case brand doing their part to help pay for the back end sorting, shredding and preparation of all non-recyclable cases collected to be put towards a “Waste to Energy” co-processing program.
The linear way our economies use and dispose of resources is increasingly putting pressure on our natural systems, communities, and public health. Transitioning to a clean economy starts with finding smart new approaches and technologies that create economic opportunities out of the materials we might otherwise throw away.
The circular economy is a new way of doing business that extracts as much value as possible from resources by recycling, repairing, reusing, repurposing, or refurbishing products and materials—eliminating waste and greenhouse gas emissions at the design stage. Businesses can use circular designs to save money or open up new market opportunities, from turning pulp-and-paper-mill waste into renewable bioproducts, to launching product buy-back programs that enhance customer interaction and recover usable materials. This movement has been gaining global momentum in recent years.
Simply put, by participating in the circular economy, communities, businesses, and people—of all ages and from all walks of life—are rethinking the potential value of materials and products before they become waste. The circular economy is finding ways to move toward greener, more sustainable options that support a cleaner and more competitive economy.
The long-term goal of the circular economy is to design out the concept of waste.