Published 7 months ago.
About a 5 minute read.
Image: Gustavo Gutierrez
Through a nationwide network of independent haulers and reverse-recycling carriers linked through an app-based platform, CheckSammy brings long-overdue change to an outdated waste-management and recycling industry.
Increasingly in waste management, it pays to think outside of the box. Most
companies have the basics ticked off when it comes to recycling or recovering
value from common-use materials; but the bulkier, fiddlier or more unique the
item, the harder it is to find a responsible, value-led solution. That’s where
Canada-based bespoke sustainability operator
CheckSammy comes in.
CheckSammy’s unusual name is inspired by company co-founder Sam
Scoten. During a family vacation
in Hawaii, Scoten saw the high volume of waste generated by tourists — items
such as pool toys and toiletries, that potentially could be reused. He hit on
the idea of offering a customised service whereby companies could ‘check with
Sam’ to see if such items could be dealt with in a more sustainable manner.
Over the past five years, the company has been working with a diverse customer
base — ranging from hospitality and healthcare through retail to property
management — to find new ways to deal with the ‘hidden’ waste streams these
industries generate. According to CheckSammy’s chief sustainability officer,
Cameron Funk, these streams usually
manifest themselves as complex waste issues or emergencies.
“This could include defective
in a back room that sit until a new seasonal delivery arrives, requiring that
space. Or it could be a hotel chain that decides to replace all of their
mattresses. Consumers don’t see these missed opportunities, and the companies
don’t know where to turn to address them,” he tells Sustainable Brands®.
Truly sustainable businesses address the many interconnected social and environmental challenges that brands and their customers face — and strive for net-positive outcomes and impacts, in addition to growth. SB's latest guidebook can help your company navigate the path toward enhanced brand sustainability with key insights, actionable steps and a holistic framework that defines a roadmap for good growth.
To date, CheckSammy has completed more than 40,000 jobs and diverted over 60
million pounds of material — including 28M pounds of textiles — from landfill since its founding in 2018.
Its success lies in its ability to leverage a nationwide network of independent
haulers and reverse-recycling carriers through an app-based platform, which can
also provide a wealth of smart data and reporting for customers, enabling them
to share key outcomes with stakeholders.
“We connect independent haulers to businesses with complex challenges or
unanticipated volumes within the same day, where a regular carrier may not be
logistically able to service the need. We’re considered a partner and supplement
to national waste haulers. Whether that’s finding a better outcome for 55,000
mannequins or six truckloads of defective security tags, our expertise will
identify as many ways as possible to divert and reuse or recycle materials,”
Recently, the company launched its Drop program to offer a more simplified,
flexible solution for textile waste. Under the scheme, CheckSammy supplies
‘Drop’ bags and bins to clothing retailers and manufacturers — enabling them to
schedule either one-off or recurring pick-ups. The bags and bins can be
installed onsite with customers who require a regular service or brought in for
a one-time need.
“We’ve spent the past four years supporting retailers across North America
through the growing issue of textile
to help alleviate illegal dumping and save our landfills. However, we continue
to hear large retailers today ask what, if any, solutions exist when they’re
juggling extra inventory they cannot sell or throw away,” Scoten says.
Examples of such inventory may be
which can be recycled; or clothing such as denim that can be upcycled into
for non-profit organizations. Funk says textiles are at the forefront of
reusable materials that too often end up in landfill, and sees the Drop service
as a means of helping brands meet expectations — and increasingly obligations —
around producer responsibility. Last November, Massachusetts introduced a
waste disposal ban for textiles and
and California is proposing similar measures with its Responsible Textile
“We think regulations targeting textile end-of-life will be directed
specifically towards manufacturers and retailers. However, we also believe these
regulations will extend to residential textile disposal — particularly within
multi-family communities. We hope that manufacturers and retailers will develop
opportunities to encourage takeback programs, or textile drive events, and
CheckSammy can play a central role in those efforts,” Funk says.
Drop also claims to offer a host of other customer benefits including savings in
waste-management costs, as the net weight to landfill is reduced; and the
potential for revenue generation, as many of the materials handled have a
that is passed directly back to the client. Going forward, Funk sees a lot of
growth opportunity to replicate the model into different markets and
“The material itself is secondary to the Drop process. Any material that can be
recycled, repurposed or reused is suitable for Drop. Our process creates the
opportunity for these materials to be separated from landfill-bound waste
streams and handled independently,” Funk adds. “We send this waste where it
makes sense, based on the material and location.”
CheckSammy prides itself on its extensive service offering, which is designed to
fill in the gaps of the traditional waste-removal industry. Besides data and
analytics reporting, the company provides ESG (environmental, social and
governance) programs and a carbon-offset
marketplace. All aim to help companies
advance their sustainability strategies.
“Sustainability strategies must be both financially and environmentally
sustainable. We’ve heard from many chief sustainability officers that they know
what they’re trying to achieve, they just don’t know how to start achieving it,
or that their existing team is unable to tackle their problems alone,” says
“We take an approach that looks to minimize costs while also maximizing value
created. That value can be in the form of commodity sales of metal, plastic and
textiles, or via carbon credit generation.”
It’s an approach that certainly appears to be paying off. “We may start a client
relationship through our bulk waste-removal or emergency jobs; but when our
clients begin to understand how we can regularly support their unique needs, we
often shift to working with them on holistic sustainability solutions,” Funk
says. “The main challenge is informing people that this unseen, everyday waste
can be diverted towards more sustainable outcomes. People are not aware that
there are cost-effective alternatives to the landfill — part of our mission is
generating awareness of these alternatives.”
Published Apr 26, 2023 8am EDT / 5am PDT / 1pm BST / 2pm CEST
Maxine Perella is an environmental journalist working in the field of corporate sustainability, circular economy and resource risk.