At TerraCycle, we haven’t found a waste stream we can’t recycle, but we’re having a bit of a rough time with sandpaper.
It seems that separating the grit from the backing material would render a pulpy, substance that could be recycled. How can we do this with no residual sand left in the pulp, which would make it much more difficult to process? What do we do with the sand that is left?
To complicate matters, there are many different kinds of sand paper with different backing material, grits and bonding agents. Is there a reuse/recycling option that can be applied across the category?
Finally, do we need to account for what the sandpaper was used to sand? Will there be enough dust left on the sandpaper to have to worry about whether it was used on raw wood, finished or painted wood, metal, fiberglass, plastic, etc.
So WHAT can we do with used sandpaper? Recycle it? Reuse it? Use it to make more sandpaper? We’d love to be able to scratch this one off of our list, so thanks for your input!
The winning idea should be viable, cost-effective, and able to solve for large volumes of sandpaper.
TerraCycle will offer the winner an internship, if they can get to the Trenton, NJ area, as well as recognition on our Facebook page.
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