Recycle enthusiast barters his way into businesses’ favor
Like many entrepreneurs, Stu Nichlas follows the green. But the kind he seeks can’t be converted to plastic. Nichlas, founder of the recycling removal service, Green Machine, doesn’t care about the Benjamins.
A lifelong passion for the environment triggered his start-up and has fueled a creative business plan. Nichlas approaches merchants in the flavor of Old Park City, bartering and negotiating in the way of the Wild West.
"I don’t want anyone not to recycle because of money," he said. "I’m just opening a door." His contracts usually involve payment combined with some form of trade or in-kind service.
"I’m not worried about income," he said. "I’m worried about the ideal and setting up a blueprint for recycling. My number-one goal is just to get businesses to be aware and take responsibility."
Nichlas began by serving Alpine Internet five months ago, at the urging of owners Brian Markkannen and Erik Adams.
"They’re the reason I started this," he said. "They opened the opportunity." Nichlas also worked with the Park Silly Sunday Market, which was named Business Recycler of the Year by Recycle Utah last week, before signing up Davanza’s Pizza, Shabu and the Corner Store.
"They’ve all been extremely energetic," he said. "They want to be green, and they’re really stepping up to the plate."
Nichlas typically requires that businesses do their own sorting, but he provides bins and removal service two to three times a week. The primary requirement is simply desire, he said.
"I want them to want to do it. It works best when I’m almost invisible."
He tries to tailor his contracts to each business to overcome their unique obstacles.
"You know you’re dealing with a different person at every spot. I try to make it as easy for them as possible, which is part of why I do barter and trade. I want to make it so it doesn’t financially challenge businesses, and so later they have an idea of how important it is."
Nichlas has only encountered a few businesses unwilling to make an effort, listing excuses that range from an inability to sort to having too little time. He said he now boycotts these places.
"I don’t care if they don’t want to do business with me, as long as they’re doing something to recycle. But part of being consistent is saying, ‘We’re going to stop patronizing businesses that aren’t capable of making any effort.’ If you support a business, you tell them that your patronage depends on their actions."
Individuals can personally contribute to the green effort by supporting eco-conscious businesses and becoming better aware of what they consume.
"I want to educate people on products they should or shouldn’t use," he said. "It’s a call to action."
Buying local and choosing biodegradable products also helps significantly, he said.
"We all have a responsibility," he said.
To contact Nichlas, e-mail email@example.com
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