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We are achieving a goal centered approach to ESG.


This understanding is at the core of what we do at Recycle Track Systems, Inc. (RTS). We knew that the trash and recycling industry needed a vast overhaul, so in 2015, we began reshaping the waste collection industry to become more sustainable and environmentally conscious. We give our clients data and visibility into their waste and production habits so they can dramatically improve their practices. Our services help organizations understand their direct impact on the climate, so they can perform better and offer more transparency to their stakeholders.

Our Impact Report summarizes the goals we have set aligned to the ESG framework and where we are in terms of progress. This is a fluid document as more goals are established and we look forward to sharing the evolution with you.

We believe in the value of setting goals and being held to them. A company’s values will ultimately determine its value.

 

 

Environmental


 

Maintaining B-Corporation

Balancing profit and doing good in the world is something that we continuously aim to do at RTS. RTS is a Certified B Corporation, which means we meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance to balance profit and purpose. 

B Corp Certification doesn’t just evaluate a product or service, it assesses the overall positive impact of the company that stands behind it. Using the B Impact Assessment administered by B Lab, it evaluates how a company’s operations and business model impact its workers, community, environment, and customers. To achieve the B Corp Certification, a company must achieve a score of at least 80 points on the assessment.

As a B Corp, we believe change starts with individuals then spreads into businesses. The #choosetoB message we follow offers the possibility for everyone to be a changemaker, engaging people around us to accelerate the sustainability movement. 

We choose to provide environmentally responsible services to our clients, while helping employers, employees, individuals, and local communities learn more about effective materials management. 

We know our world is truly interconnected, and even the smallest change can make a big difference as we move towards a more sustainable planet.

 

B Corps like RTS are redefining capitalism and showing that it actually can work for everyone.

– ANTHEA KELSICK, CO-CEO, B LAB

 

 

Sustainability is incorporated into all aspects of our business from the services offered to the vendors we partner with to make the least impact on the environment. Our work aligns with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals which are a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.

 

 

 

 

Environmental Justice

RTS places Environmental Justice (EJ) considerations at the forefront of our business decisions and our business culture. We view environmental justice as inextricably linked to other fights for social justice, in the US and worldwide.

For far too long, the most historically marginalized groups in the United States and around the world have borne the brunt of human-caused environmental degradation. These negative impacts have affected those most powerless to oppose them — and most vulnerable to their effects.

We are keenly focused on EJ issues connected to our industry, such as location and safety standards of municipal solid waste (MSW) transfer stations, landfills, and recycling process centers– known as Material Recovery Facilities or MRFs. Prior to meaningful regulation of these facilities, their negative air and water impacts disproportionately affected people of color, women, and children.

 

Environmental Justice is a non-negotiable and central aspect of the RTS sustainability vision.

 

We must fight for sustainable policy, innovation, and solutions with equitably shared environmental costs and benefits for all people.

We support policies that require companies in our industry to implement proven scientific methods for eliminating or limiting potential harm to residents. Our municipal practice advocates for community involvement and approval over facility placement and operation – through open dialogue and inclusive democracy.

We engage with our city partners reimagining their waste management through an EJ lens. In New York City, we support Commercial Waste Zoning, which will drastically reduce greenhouse gas and other pollutant emissions from service trucks, especially in poorer areas of the city.

As a better waste company, we are committed to continuously educating ourselves to build safe and equitable practices that positively impact all communities.

– Greg Lettieri, Co-Founder + CEO, RTS

Zero Waste Solutions

An important distinction between zero waste and conventional waste management is the prevention of wasteful practices at the start of the chain. According to the EPA, only around 30% of the US waste stream is recycled and around 140 million tons of waste is sent to landfill each year. When it comes to single-use plastics only around 9% are recycled.

Landfills should not continue to be the final destination for the bulk of our waste because landfills harm the planet and its inhabitants, threatening us from above and below. As materials in landfills decompose, they release harmful gasses to the skies, including carbon dioxide, methane, and hydrogen sulfide, accelerating global warming and polluting the air we breathe. Additionally, leachate from landfills carries dangerous chemicals into our groundwater, polluting our farmland and drinking water.

We are passionate about providing transparency of a material’s end-state that would otherwise be thrown out or considered waste. We want businesses and consumers to understand the downstream impact and arm them with knowledge to make more informed and environmentally-focused decisions.

With that knowledge, we are committed to accelerating zero waste solutions more broadly and making circular processing more accessible. We are currently focused on addressing food waste – the largest contributor to landfills – through a revolutionary bioconversion process of the compounds of organic material, including the water, to create non-toxic and sustainable products and commodities.

As we aim to make circular processing more available, we also launched zerowaste.com – where both individuals and businesses can learn how to redefine waste their waste goals through educational guides, interactive content, and zero waste products and services.

 

Reducing Carbon Footprint

One of our goals is to minimize impact and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by keeping material as local as possible and working with our clients to separate that material appropriately so that local processing is possible. Food waste is responsible for 7% of global greenhouse gas emissions, which is why it is so critical for municipal and commercial businesses to separate and recycle their organic waste.

 

There are many important opportunities to re-think manufacturing of everyday goods by using byproducts of our existing resources. We plan to convert municipal and commercial food waste into value-add products with established markets, utilizing 100% of this complex yet promising feedstock.

– AMANDA WEEKS, VP OF AMBROSIA + ZERO WASTE, RTS

 

 

Measuring Impact

For our clients, we couple their waste diversion efforts with data-driven reporting and sustainability training, so they have visibility into their material production and learn immediate changes to improve it. This measurement goes a long way to understanding how to set goals and create actionable plans to achieve them.

Our collective sustainability impact is also monitored by material stream to provide a baseline for ongoing improvement. We achieved a total of 74.5 tons of material diverted from landfill and incineration (waste to energy)  in 2019, which helps us to establish our annual benchmarks year over year. In addition, we consider the environmental effect of all business operations, ways to mitigate challenges, and how to provide resources to our partners and vendors to allow them to make similar commitments.

 

By arming our clients with data and insight into the impact of their consumption and production, and providing recommendations for improvement, we assist businesses in developing first steps to become publicly accountable and transparent.

 

 

MATERIALS DIVERTED FROM LANDFILL + INCINERATION

With the help of our recycling vendors, we’re able to keep tons of valuable material from entering a landfill or incinerator (waste to energy). Although some entities would consider waste sent to a waste to an incinerator as being diverted, we do not take that approach. Any waste that we send to a waste to energy facility is considered trash.

The recycled waste can range from cardboard to food waste to electronic waste. It is important to us and to our clients to keep these materials in the loop so that they can be used to create new materials and minimize the dependency on extracting virgin raw materials.

 

EPA WASTE REDUCTION CONVERSION METRICS

When waste materials are separated appropriately, they are then processed through methods like recycling, composting, and anaerobic digestion, which results in significant energy savings and reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

 

Social


Commitment to diversity, inclusion and interaction with local communities.

 

Labor + Supply Chain Rights

While RTS’s founding goals are environmental, as a mission-driven company we view our corporate and social responsibilities as extending well beyond this realm. RTS is proud to fully endorse the United Nations’ pathbreaking Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and its “Protect, Respect, Remedy” framework for the rights of workers in supply chains.

As the Guiding Principles note, it is RTS’s responsibility to take all reasonable measures to respect and actively protect the human and labor rights of its employees, and, if ever applicable, to fairly investigate allegations of abuses and remedy them if found to be credible.

We live in a world of increasingly globalized and complex corporate supply chains. The waste, recycling, technology, and sustainability industries are not immune to these trends. In selecting our partners, RTS prioritizes those businesses whose values and commitment to social and environmental responsibility match our own.

 

RTS prioritizes those businesses whose values and commitment to social and environmental responsibility match our own.

 

Diversity

The human capital management team at RTS is tasked with assessing our core values and providing a more holistic view of the employee experience at the organization. A core piece of our values project is centered around diversity, equity, and inclusion. We understand the value of diversity of gender, race, and other immutable factors, as well as diversity of experience and bringing employees from different industries to the organization. We view diversity not as a “check-the-box” exercise, but as a business advantage. We believe we will continue to out-perform competitors precisely because of our diversity, and so we are committed to this value not only as an ethical principle but as a business imperative.

We consider our diverse and inclusive staff to be our biggest strength and most valuable asset.

We presently partner with staffing organizations which have a core mission centered around placing diverse candidates at roles with scaling startup organizations, such as RTS. These firms currently assist with hiring needs across all levels, including all open executive leadership roles. Moreover, we have recently implemented a quarterly diversity snapshot, which includes our gender, ethnicity, veteran hiring and highlighting other forms of employee diversity and representation. These metrics are reviewed by our board of directors.

 

 

 

Embracing difference as a differentiator has been critical for corporations from both ethical and financial perspectives – a team that is multi-dimensionally diverse is unquestionably a higher performing team. We are extremely proud of the tremendous strides we have made in our internal staff diversity and it will continue to be at the core of our practices.

– Allyn L. Shaw, President + CTO, RTS
Social + Community Impact

As a solution-oriented company focused on diverting and recycling waste to keep people and the planet healthy, it is important for us to align ourselves with organizations that share the same mission and values. RTS is an official partner of Big Blue Ocean Cleanup, an international non-profit dedicated to cleaning up our oceans. Their global coastal cleaning program and education program, providing open source resources to teachers, inspire individuals around the world to take action to protect our oceans. Through their scientific research program, providing marine pollution data to businesses, governments, universities, etc., and their technology development programs, which support individuals and organizations developing innovative technology to clean up our oceans, they are engaging with some of the brightest minds to work toward solutions to the damaging issue of marine plastic pollution.

At the community level, RTS is proud to work closely with Lifestyles for the Disabled, a care agency that supports creating opportunity for individuals with disabilities. Having served the developmentally disabled population of New York City, Lifestyles started as an agency which served four adults and families and now serves over 400. We have worked with the organization to develop food composting programs for growing “greenhouse” soil and started their community recycling initiatives where students collect bottles and cans for profits back to the organization.

We also partner with forward-thinking sports institutions who are bringing sustainable programs to the field. Through our work with stadium partners, we have raised awareness about waste reduction during the game experience. Working with the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), we engage fans with in-game recycling programs through a dedicated Green Team that collects material and shares the message about properly disposing recyclable material.

 

Volunteering

We all have a responsibility to our communities and our planet to keep them safe and healthy. RTS employees actively participate with local neighborhoods in the markets we serve as part of our employee volunteer program.

 

Safety + Well-Being

As we navigate the safety of our workspaces and homes following the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health is a growing national concern. We have implemented practices to positively support our new working conditions, such as mandatory daily break time, virtual coffee hours, and a fit club.

Moreover, the well-being of our clients and partners and their working conditions is a top priority. All of our partner haulers are required to adhere to the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) guidelines regarding the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and the handling of commercial municipal and solid waste (MSW) and organics, both during the crisis and in general. In addition, our haulers have taken meaningful steps to ensure that they keep distance from individuals with whom they may otherwise interact in close physical proximity, including janitorial staff in commercial buildings and residents in the cities and townships we service.

Most importantly, RTS recognizes that the COVID-19 crisis is an evolving situation that requires us to remain up to date on scientific and policy developments and to respond in kind. As guidelines from trusted authorities like the CDC and from industry groups like the Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) have shifted with increased knowledge, we have in turn adopted all recommended policies. We will continue to do so for as long as the crisis persists, and beyond for all health and policy-related issues.

 

Education

Ongoing education is a cornerstone of our betterment. As a member of the US Green Building Council, we support ongoing training for our LEED-accredited and TRUE advisory staff. RTS is also committed to educating the public about proper waste practices. We work closely with organizations, such as the NYC Zero Waste Workshop, whose objective is to educate and inspire others about reducing their environmental footprint. And, to share our mission of pioneering a better way to manage waste more broadly, we host free, on-demand virtual learning sessions on topics such as recycling contamination. We also release reports like our Food Waste Guide to articulate the individual and collective impact of waste in our homes and our businesses.

 

Donation

Donating material is another way we prioritize reuse and recycling over landfill or incineration. We work with local organizations and communities to find new homes for gently used material. Our partner, human-I-T, is a great example of how we strategically choose vendors that ensure materials are being diverted for the highest and best use. Through this partnership, we are able to donate our company’s electronic waste such as laptops and tablets as opposed to having them recycled. Our tablets were able to be utilized by students for remote learning and even hospital patients affected by COVID-19 to connect with family members that were not able to have direct contact with their loved ones.

We are also proud contributors to the New York City Department of Sanitation’s Sanitation Foundation, which supports the labor rights of public sector sanitation workers in our home city.

Through efforts like these, human-I-T was able to connect more than 20,000 families with technology and internet services during the pandemic.

 

RTS helps us to help our members by donating items that are useful and valuable. Materials for the Arts serves the arts and culture community and is also the largest donor of goods to NYC public schools. Together we keep items out of landfill and promote sustainability and creative reuse.

– Tara Sansone, Interim Executive Director, MFTA

Governance


Commitment to responsible business practices.

 

Choosing the Right Partners + Vendors

As part of our commitment to managing waste for our clients, we align ourselves with vendors that also share our values and are managing waste responsibly. Our hauler partners’ trucks are outfitted with RTS proprietary technology so that our team can track the flow of waste from the point of generation to the end destination facility. This technology and hauler relationship allows our team to validate that materials are being delivered to the appropriate facility for processing.

Our team also examines our recycling facilities so we know exactly how our clients’ materials will be handled once it leaves their hands. We extend that transparency at the facility level with our clients by having them join us for tours of the facilities. Our electronic waste vendors maintain certifications like e-Steward, which upholds a safe and ethical standard for e-waste recycling, as well as R2 Certifications, which ensures environmental and social responsibility of electronic recycling facilities.

RTS back office and financial support has added new levels of capability for Save That Stuff. With focused managers in many areas they are able to analyze and report continual improvement ideas to customers, and their systems for gathering data increases opportunity and transparency for our business.

– ERIK LEVY, FOUNDER + PRESIDENT, SAVE THAT STUFF

 

Policy Guidelines

RTS’s alignment with local, state, federal, and international laws, regulations, and norms is a top priority for the company. To ensure that this would always be the case, early in its lifecycle RTS created a team dedicated specifically to policy and government-related work. Thus, policy issues – like sustainability issues – are not viewed as mere matters of compliance or branding, but as actual responsibilities.

Our Policy team constantly engages with governments from Townships to the City Government of New York – as it is implementing its new Commercial Waste Zone (CWZ) policy – to the United Nations (and its Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and Sustainability Development Goal-focused departments).

 

Our hauler partners’ trucks are outfitted with RTS proprietary technology so that our team can track the flow of waste from the point of generation to the end destination facility.

 

Corporate Governance

RTS is organized as a benefit corporation under Article 17 of New York State’s Business Corporation Law (“BCL”). That means that RTS has elected to legally commit to having a purpose of creating a material positive impact on society and the environment, taken as a whole, assessed against a third-party standard, from its business and operations. Further, in keeping its status as a benefit corporation under the BCL, RTS has adopted provisions in its corporate bylaws providing that, in discharging the duties of their respective positions, each of RTS’ directors and officers shall consider the effect of any action upon:

(i) the ability for the corporation to accomplish its general public benefit purpose;

(ii) the shareholders of the corporation;

(iii) the employees and workforce of the corporation and its subsidiaries and suppliers;

(iv) the interests of customers as beneficiaries of the general public benefit purpose of the corporation;

(v) community and societal considerations, including those of any community in which offices or facilities of the corporation or its subsidiaries or suppliers are located;

(vi) the local and global environment; and

(vii) the short-term and long-term interests of the corporation, including benefits that may accrue to the corporation from its long-term plans and the possibility that these interests may be best served by the continued independence of the corporation.

 

Benefit Corporation: RTS has elected to legally commit to having a purpose of creating a material positive impact on society and the environment, taken as a whole, assessed against a third-party standard, from its business and operations.

 

Board of Directors Composition

We are privileged to have the experience and acumen from our board members to guide our values and further our mission. The breadth of their experience, which is grounded in the principles of the ESG framework, have provided a solid foundation for our progress.

We value their approach to our relationship with the environment in which we serve, and as individuals contributing to the greater whole – continually pushing us to go beyond our limits in a responsible, but impactful manner.

Our board includes diverse entrepreneurs, business leaders, and self-starters inspiring us with unique perspectives. This, combined with a structure of monthly and quarterly touchpoints, allows us to evaluate our ethical practices routinely.

I am thrilled to be on the board of RTS as they lead the way on developing innovative waste management solutions and forging sustainability efforts.

– Shazi Visram, Chief Mom + Co-Founder, HealthyNest

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RTS ESG Impact Report 2020

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