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A man smokes outside the Taipei railway station January 13, 2010. (PICHI CHUANG/REUTERS)
A man smokes outside the Taipei railway station January 13, 2010. (PICHI CHUANG/REUTERS)

Small Business Briefing

New recycling program handles cigarette waste Add to ...

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TerraCycle has launched a free program to collect and recycle cigarette waste in Canada, including filters, foil and plastic packaging.

The “upcycling” company, which takes tough-to-recycle packaging and turns it into affordable products, will use cigarette waste to make plastic pallets for industry, reducing the need to use wood or virgin plastic. Organic material – the paper and remaining tobacco – will be composted.

“As a company committed to recycling waste streams that others deem worthless or unsavoury, cigarette waste will help to promote our belief that everything can and should be recycled,” TerraCycle’s Toronto-born founder Tom Szaky says in a press release.

Everything but cardboard boxes are part of the new program (they can be recycled by municipalities). Smokers can collect and deposit the rest of their cigarette waste in a plastic bag, which also gets recycled.

Participants then log into their online TerraCycle accounts to print prepaid UPS shipping labels to return the boxes they use at no cost. Once TerraCycle receives a shipment, the participant’s account is credited with 100 points (equal to $1) for every pound of waste.

Points can be used toward charity gifts, or they can be converted to cash to make a donation to a charity or a non-profit of the collector’s choice.

An affair to remember

A new website, Misstravel.com, “matches generous travelers with attractive travel girls (or guys).” As a story on ABC points out, most of the “generous” are men, who foot the bills, and the “attractive” are women. Critics say Misstravel.com is just a high-flying escort service, but founder Brandon Wade disputes the claim. “The generous guy is responsible for paying for the trip ... but there's no payment of the other person,” he says. And the website states it’s “strictly an online dating website. Escorts are not welcome.” As for safety concerns, Mr. Wade says that within two months the site will provide an option to do background checks. “But even with a background check, everything is a still a risk, because people could still lie about their identity.”

Tougher times for Cubans

Cuba is implementing stiff new import taxes that could have a huge financial impact on early stage entrepreneurs, the Montreal Gazette reports. As of September, Cubans who travel more than once a year will have to pay $10 a kilogram or more for imports, a huge sum for most operators. Non-Cuban residents, and Cuban-Americans, will have to pay even if they only make one trip. Cubans with permission to travel often fund their excursions by bringing back clothes, electronics, diapers and other hard-to-find goods to sell. They currently pay about 50 cents a kilogram in import duties, with set fees for big-ticket items such as TVs and microwaves. Food imports used to be free, but the government started charging duties earlier this year.

EVENTS AND KEY DATES

This revolution is social

The next Dreamforce conference takes place in San Francisco from Sept. 18 to 21, and features stories and presentations from some of the biggest names in technology and business. The cloud computing event also examines how the “social enterprise revolution” is changing the way business is conducted. Cost is $999 (U.S.) until July 31. Think that’s steep? A section of the Dreamforce website is titled ‘Justify Your Trip,’ and has a form letter you can customize for your boss.

The sky’s the limit

American Airlines is teaming up with Startup America Partnership to launch the second annual “Flights.Camera.Action” for U.S.-based small businesses looking to win travel-related prizes. Entrants are asked to submit videos of a minute in length, explaining how air travel facilitates important connections for their company through in-person meetings, onboard technology and Wi-Fi, as well as connections made through the travel experience. The contest runs from July 17 to Aug. 10, and the top nine videos from each of the three contest categories will be displayed for public voting from Aug. 28 to Sept. 14.

EDITOR'S PICKS FROM REPORT ON SMALL BUSINESS

Lenders know most small businesses fail

Mark MacLeod, a partner at Real Ventures, contributed to our Failure Week with this column on why small businesses find it tough to get funded. The fact is, he writes, most small businesses fail. Lenders know this. To successfully raise debt financing for your business, you need to first have a financial plan that will allow for debt repayment. For this reason, debt is not usually the first outside capital to go into a business.

FROM THE ROSB ARCHIVES

Follow the upcyclers

Upcycling, the process of manufacturing new products from material that would otherwise be headed for the landfill, is gaining in popularity. This story from August, 2011 suggested a few of the best upcycling Twitter feeds to follow.

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