April 2, 2013

Winning the Green Source DFW Sustainable Leadership Award this year for "Entrepreneur" Eddie Lott says the award is special to him for a lot of reasons.

“First and foremost it means people such as our peers and the public recognize how hard we work every day and they recognize that the organization we've created matters enough to reward us for it and that validates our work.”

Lott, who founded the company Recycle Revolution with his mother, Maria Lott has taken the recycling collection service for businesses, apartments and condominiums to the next level since moving back to Dallas from South America and being appalled by what he says was “a lack of recycling here [in Dallas] as compared to Brazil.”

Maria Lott and Eddie Lott with tons of recycled paper. Photos by Phillip Shinoda.

“Owning a business is hard enough, let alone trying to constantly grow one and let alone trying to constantly grow a really unique one,” he explains. “I do not recommend it. Maria and I were never able to just put out a business sign saying "Now Open." There were, and really still are, not any companies like us in North Texas and we have had to explain ourselves and our operation to would-be customers every day of our existence.”  Lott says that, in fact, five years ago he even had to explain what recycling was to the general public.”

He and his mother have put in many 12-hour days in the past five years to get the company going and “working an eight-hour day literally feels like playing hooky,” he adds.

Because of this, Lott says “It’s special to imagine that people recognize our effort, whether that recognition comes in the form of an award from our peers, a new customer that wants to partner with us or a new Like on Facebook.”

Lott says that over the past five years to help Recycle Revolution stand as a viable option for customers in Dallas the strongest efforts have not come from him though, but the consumer using his service.

Left, Maria Lott with bins - the green bin is for compostable material
Right, Eddie Lott with bales of cardboard

"Despite all of our best efforts, and there has been much, much effort, the biggest factors to help Recycle Revolution in the past five years have not been generated by us, at all, but by growing consumer awareness. Of course, we feel like we've had a small hand in fostering the culture of recycling in DFW, but the reality is that this wave of consumer awareness regarding waste reduction has been a long time coming and owes to the collective work of so many people in so many places for so long. As awareness about the environment and our impact on it as consumers grow so do the opportunities for Recycle Revolution.”

Left, Sorting materials
Right, bottles from about a dozen bars and restaurants in less than a week 

That said, he also believes that identifying long-term best practices in the sustainability industry is relatively easy, but crafting viable short- and mid-term services that are "consumer-ready" is equally important and much more challenging.

“To that end, I think we've had mixed success we've grown consistently, but I feel like there was room to have grown more had our execution been better. To pick just two examples our Community Drop-Off Center is the most comprehensive center of its kind that we know of in North Texas, but is dramatically underutilized by the general public, while our "It’s a program, not a container!" approach, which places equal emphasis on education, accessible and reliable service and feedback to the customer has worked really well in our Collection Program for businesses & apartments.”

The company also recently began North Texas's first curbside compost collection program called the Blue Bucket program for select neighborhoods in Dallas. This was a long-anticipated, first service that allows Recycle Revolution to interact directly with folks as opposed to businesses. “Home-owners and apartment-dwellers alike can place all their food waste and other biodegradable materials into the bucket during the week,” he explains.  “We collect the contents once per week. It’s simple and great for folks who want to dispose of their food waste responsibly, but either cannot compost at their place of residence or do not have the time, space or energy to maintain their own compost pile.”

As the founder of Recycle Revolution, Lott says he has always known that the company’s purest connection was to individuals who have an intrinsic will to hold certain things important regardless of any financial implications.

“The trick, in our industry, is in creating a viable operation that services those people, since the City normally occupies that arena while businesses are often left to deal with other businesses.” The Blue Bucket Program is Recycle Revolution’s first attempt at working outside of the already established Community Drop-Off Center that we created. 

“We know that the City of Dallas and other surrounding municipalities will most likely overtake us in the compost collection arena eventually,” he concludes, “but we are a step ahead of them right now and are savoring the opportunity to work directly with people who believe in our company and the services we provide.”

Editor's note:  Are the Bars and Restaurants you patronize recycling?

Here is a partial list of the bars & restaurants in DFW that DO currently recycle
J. Black's - Dallas, Times Ten Cellars, Times Ten Cellars Fort Worth, Hibiscus, Trinity Hall Irish Pub, The Grapevine Bar, Victor Tangos, Fred's Texas Cafe, Fireside Pies Henderson Ave., The Porch Restaurant, The Gem, Twisted Root Burger Co,  Sissy's Southern Kitchen & Bar, The People's Last Stand, Blue Mesa Grill, Deep Ellum Brewing Company, Hopdoddy Burger Bar Dallas,  Cock and Bull Neighborhood Pub, Mokah Coffee Bar, Hard Rock Cafe Dallas

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