As researchers around the world race towards a vaccine, an unknown group of Covid busters works diligently under our noses to make sure all the nasal swabs from the last seven months are staying out of the landfill. Caleb Culpepper interviewed the founder of Swabbies-R-US, Klem Flortanisd to get the full story.
Caleb: How did you come up with the idea to recycle nasal swabs?
Klem: We have been in the swab recycling business for 3 years now. We started recycling Q-tips and turning them into disposable coffee cups for all the major coffee chains. This was an easy pivot into the nose swabs.
Caleb: That’s fucking gross. I assume the recycling process removes all impurities and sanitizes all the raw materials before they are repurposed?
Klem: Yeah that sounds right, but really our stuff is just cheaper because people pay us to recycle all their waste products. We have the highest margins in the disposable coffee cup business essentially because we don’t pay for materials.
Caleb: Yes but you have to reprocess the swabs to make them safe for consumer use? Doesn’t that raise the cost of production?
Klem: You would think so, but we have swab recycling centers in every state. And not all states have the same regulations when it comes to recycling standards. The best example I can give the readers is drinking water. Wastewater treatment plants purify wastewater and pump it back out into the river for it to become drinking water again somewhere downstream. Now that is disgusting.
Caleb: Ok. Any future opportunities for Swabbies-R-US to expand their market.
Klem: We think the paper straw market is a potential gold mine.