Recycling entrepreneurs receive City grants to develop business ideas


AUSTIN (KXAN) — Terra Helmets and LoFi Recycling Systems have been named the winners of the City of Austin’s annual Reverse Pitch competition.

Both projects will be awarded $10,000 to further develop and expanded their pitched business ideas from the April 27 contest.

You can watch the winners’ successful pitches in the video here.

Samantha Panger and Destin Douglas created LoFi Recycling Systems, which will re-purpose parts of vinyl records made of PVC into indoor pots and planters. The records come from local company Gold Rush Vinyl.

“PVC is difficult to recycle and can be hazardous to aquatic ecosystems down the road,” Panger said. “We will be able to use and shape this material into pots and planters; it’s a new and exciting way to recycle plastic waste. We want to keep PVC from ever ending up in a landfill and turn it into something useful.”

Aadhikesh Boopalam, Seniru Kottegoda and Collin McCloskey are the brains behind Terra Helmets, which will repurpose materials into shareable helmets.

These materials consist of including decorator fabric samples from Austin Creative Reuse and International Interior Designers Association, vinyl record scraps from Gold Rush Vinyl and plastic sandals from Travis County.

 “With the local and national rise in use of electric scooters, and an increase in reported head injuries, we created Terra Helmets as a way to help our community,” McCloskey said.

“Using byproduct materials from local businesses and turning them into helmets allows us to keep waste out of the landfill, and foster a safe community. We’re protecting the earth while protecting your head.”

The Reverse Pitch Competition is a collaboration between the City of Austin, Austin Young Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Business Council for Sustainable Development, UT McCombs School of Business, and the Social Entrepreneurship Learning Lab.

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