Vision of a green and sustainable future
When Waste Hub Chief Operating Officer Jacob Vaillancourt ’12 conceived his business, little did he know the company would provide a platform that sets a new global standard for managing industrial waste.
The UMass Dartmouth alum pursued his studies at the Charlton College of Business and earned a degree in Operations Management. After graduating, he co-founded the technology and waste management company with a vision of a green and sustainable future.
One facet of the business involves Waste Hub acting as a marketplace to help companies reduce the multiple costs of waste by using a transparent yet efficient transaction method.
But primarily, Waste Hub delivers personalized and unique solutions for waste reduction for a broad range of clients. Waste Hub signs a master service agreement with a manufacturer, who then assigns one or more waste streams to Waste Hub to analyze and identify elements within the material that can be used in other industrial processes.
“We then sell it to other industries as is, or help to implement production changes to get the waste stream into a more salable form,” said Vaillancourt. In essence, Waste Hub converts a disposal cost into a material that is sold and generates revenue. “So we not only save companies money, we also make them money,” said Vaillancourt.
Improving UMassD's sustainable presence
One of the projects the company managed last summer involved a very strong personal connection for Vaillancourt. In June 2015, he partnered with his alma mater on its efforts to improve its sustainable presence. This recycling challenge involved managing the diversion of a waste stream from UMass Dartmouth, an effort that led to preventing approximately 650 pounds of used mattress pads from filling the landfill. The solution? “The used mattress toppers were recycled into carpet pads,” said Vaillancourt.
When asked what transformed his entrepreneurial spirit into a reality, the 27-year-old said that the Indic Studies 444 course he took “really opened my eyes to the need of sustainable business practices in the global marketplace, including in emerging markets.”
Consistent with the growing need for sustainable measures, Charlton has become a leading initiator. In 2010, UMassD became the first public university in the world to publish an A-level Global Reporting Initiative report, an accomplishment that continues to this day. This was accomplished with the University’s business chapter of NetImpact.
Also, under the leadership of Dr. Steven White, professor of Management and Marketing at Charlton, a graduate certificate in Sustainable Development was launched.
“As a college, we believe that social responsibility and sustainability are becoming the foundation on which all future economic and business ventures will be built,” said White. “The Triple Bottom Line (Social, Ecological, and Economic) focus leads to best practices in protecting the 3 P’s: people, planet, and profits.”
Blending ideology with business
This mission is evident in young entrepreneurial graduates of Charlton such as Vaillancourt, who said, “We are finding success in the industrial world and the mattress recycling project at UMassD is one of the many examples.”
The young visionary of the fledgling, yet bourgeoning, Waste Hub company said his objective is largely environmental. “Our primary goal is to help the environment,” said Vaillancourt.
“For us, though, the best way to do that is to make it profitable for others.” That vision is achieved by blending ideology with practical business sense that provides environmental and monetary returns.
Vaillancourt’s connection to his alma mater continues. Starting in April, Waste Hub will have lab space at UMassD’s Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship in Fall River.