See why a group of corporate giants want your empty cans and bottles.

In case you haven't noticed, recyclables are kinda badass.

From our curbsides, they’re launched into an odyssey of tumbles and churns along miles of conveyor belt.


Photo by U.S. Navy/Wikimedia Commons.

In the end, they emerge anew, transformed from crushed empty vessel to resilient post-consumer material. (A smart choice for the eco-conscious manufacturer!)

It's magical, I know.

Sadly, recycling is not the fate of the majority of our blue bin soldiers.

Two-thirds of our recyclables here in the U.S. never make that final turn in the loop. Instead, they meet early graves in earth, sea, and even air if they’re incinerated.

Image via OpenClipArt (altered).

It’s not for a lack of demand. Companies are fiending for green manufacturing alternatives.

“Big companies ... hoping to burnish their environmental credentials, can’t get their hands on enough of it,” wrote The New York Times.

The problem is we're not equipped to feed the beast. We need more advanced recycling infrastructure, but how do we pay for it?

Enter: Corporate America.

In 2014, Ron Gonen, New York's former deputy recycling czar, started the Closed Loop Fund, a $100 million venture capital — sorry, social impact — fund with its eyes on the green. Two greens, actually: sustainability and money.

The investors are a roster of companies we wouldn't usually deem friends of the Earth, including, among others, Walmart, Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, Keurig, and Goldman Sachs.

Maybe you're thinking, "Wait ... now corporations want to make money cleaning the messes they create?"

The answer is yes. Yes they do. (That's capitalism for ya.)

But it doesn't appear to be as vulturous an endeavor as we might imagine.


Gross. Image by J.J./Wikimedia Commons (altered).

Their game plan includes zero interest loans to cities and below market loans to private companies that want to build and modernize recycling facilities. That doesn't sound so bad — assuming they're not playing gotcha! with the fine print.

Their goal is simple: They want to prove recycling can be profitable.

Closed Loop Fund is investing in projects with the potential to divert massive tonnage of waste from landfills.

Their pilot investment was in a Baltimore-based facility that's getting harder-to-recycle plastics ready to sell in post-consumer plastics markets.


Photo by Kristian Bjornard/Flickr.

They're also funding upgrades to dated recycling plants in Ohio and Iowa, converting them into more efficient single-stream systems.

Gonen told The New York Times they're also looking to invest in a company that would turn mixed glass into paving and building materials.

Can we increase recycling without making wealthy corporations even wealthier?

Yup. And we needn't look any further than the largest investor of all: the government.

If private companies want to invest in recycling, they should be our guests. But protecting the environment is really all our responsibility. As voters and taxpayers, we should expect more public investments, too.

And it should start with a national recycling mandate which, believe it or not, does not currently exist.

Recycling rates have stagnated in recent years. But we can change that by making it a national priority and giving everyone the means to do it.

It might cost us on the front end, but hey — consider it an investment.

To learn more about how modern recycling facilities work (which is fascinating, by the way), check out this animated video by RE3.org:

Images courtesy of Mark Storhaug & Kaiya Bates

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The experiences we have at school tend to stay with us throughout our lives. It's an impactful time where small acts of kindness, encouragement, and inspiration go a long way.

Schools, classrooms, and teachers that are welcoming and inclusive support students' development and help set them up for a positive and engaging path in life.

Here are three of our favorite everyday actions that are spreading kindness on campus in a big way:

Image courtesy of Mark Storhaug

1. Pickleball to Get Fifth Graders Moving

Mark Storhaug is a 5th grade teacher at Kingsley Elementary in Los Angeles, who wants to use pickleball to get his students "moving on the playground again after 15 months of being Zombies learning at home."

Pickleball is a paddle ball sport that mixes elements of badminton, table tennis, and tennis, where two or four players use solid paddles to hit a perforated plastic ball over a net. It's as simple as that.

Kingsley Elementary is in a low-income neighborhood where outdoor spaces where kids can move around are minimal. Mark's goal is to get two or three pickleball courts set up in the schoolyard and have kids join in on what's quickly becoming a national craze. Mark hopes that pickleball will promote movement and teamwork for all his students. He aims to take advantage of the 20-minute physical education time allotted each day to introduce the game to his students.

Help Mark get his students outside, exercising, learning to cooperate, and having fun by donating to his GoFundMe.

Image courtesy of Kaiya Bates

2. Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids

According to the WHO around 280 million people worldwide suffer from depression. In the US, 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness and 1 in 20 experience severe mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Kaiya Bates, who was recently crowned Miss Tri-Cities Outstanding Teen for 2022, is one of those people, and has endured severe anxiety, depression, and selective mutism for most of her life.

Through her GoFundMe, Kaiya aims to use her "knowledge to inspire and help others through their mental health journey and to spread positive and factual awareness."

She's put together regulation kits (that she's used herself) for teachers to use with students who are experiencing stress and anxiety. Each "CALM-ing" kit includes a two-minute timer, fidget toolboxes, storage crates, breathing spheres, art supplies and more.

Kaiya's GoFundMe goal is to send a kit to every teacher in every school in the Pasco School District in Washington where she lives.

To help Kaiya achieve her goal, visit Staying C.A.L.M: Regulation Kits for Kids.

Image courtesy of Julie Tarman

3. Library for a high school heritage Spanish class

Julie Tarman is a high school Spanish teacher in Sacramento, California, who hopes to raise enough money to create a Spanish language class library.

The school is in a low-income area, and although her students come from Spanish-speaking homes, they need help building their fluency, confidence, and vocabulary through reading Spanish language books that will actually interest them.

Julie believes that creating a library that affirms her students' cultural heritage will allow them to discover the joy of reading, learn new things about the world, and be supported in their academic futures.

To support Julie's GoFundMe, visit Library for a high school heritage Spanish class.

Do YOU have an idea for a fundraiser that could make a difference? Upworthy and GoFundMe are celebrating ideas that make the world a better, kinder place. Visit upworthy.com/kindness to join the largest collaboration for human kindness in history and start your own GoFundMe.

Image is a representation of the grandfather, not the anonymous subject of the story.

Eight years a go, a grandfather in Michigan wrote a powerful letter to his daughter after she kicked out her son out of the house for being gay. It's so perfectly written that it crops up on social media every so often.

The letter is beautiful because it's written by a man who may not be with the times, but his heart is in the right place.

It first appeared on the Facebook page FCKH8 and a representative told Gawker that the letter was given to them by Chad, the 16-year-old boy referenced in the letter.

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When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."