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Meet the South Bay mom changing the recycling game

Karen Noryko wants to bring the grassroots recycling start-up, Ridwell, to the Bay Area.

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Join Karen on her mission to help make the Bay greener.

Photo provided by Ridwell

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About a year ago, Karen Noryko thought she was recycling things but was shocked to learn how little actually was accepted. Even in an area like the Bay, her garbage hauler couldn’t take plastic clamshells, plastic bags, batteries, and other common household items that often have recycling symbols.

Karen reached out to a friend in Seattle who told her about a business that was filling many of the recycling gaps that she was so frustrated to learn about. Seattle-based recycling start-up Ridwell started as a father-son project when CEO, Ryan Metzger, and his son, Owen tried to find a way to recycle their batteries in Seattle.

One way Ridwell is keeping things out of landfills is with their partnership with Trex. Rather than throw plastic bags and plastic film in the garbage, Ridwell collects it for Trex to make composite decking. Feeling inspired, Karen, along with her two kids, collected 500 lbs. of plastic from their neighborhood in a community drive and sent it to Trex.

2 boys stand next to a recycling box

Recycling is a family activity in the Noryko household.

Photo provided by Ridwell

Her big dreams didn’t end there. Karen reached out to Ridwell to see if the service would expand to the Bay Area. Seeing Karen’s passion for wasting less, Ridwell hired her to bring the service to the area. Thanks to her, families now pay as little as $14 a month in East Bay and the Peninsula, cutting their household waste nearly in half.

Now, Karen is working hard so that the South Bay can recycle more things, too. The goal? If 3,000 people join the waiting list, Ridwell will launch its service here and we can all start saving those plastic bags, Styrofoam, old clothes, and more from ending up in landfills and the ocean.

If you’re ready to pitch in and make our community greener with more recycling and reuse in the South Bay, simply sign up. Get recycling.*


Fact or Fiction: Thin plastics like bags, plastic wrap, mailers, or bubble wrap can go in the recycling bin. Take our quiz to find out.*

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