ROCKPORT - A local family business has a big hand in helping businesses, organizations and schools across North America reduce waste.

iWasteNot Systems on the 1000 Islands Parkway answers the burning, multi-faceted question of "what to do with it when you're done with it" and helps sustainability lead to profit.

It could be knowing where to recycle an old bike, a camera, a lithium battery or some plywood. Whatever it is, they can help. Have you ever heard of Recyclopedia? Well, now you have!

"Our main business model is to put waste reduction tools online for clients," says owner Norm Ruttan of the software his company designs and services.

"In the past two years, we've quadrupled our revenue to go from a company just slogging along to a growing operation," says Norm.

"I've never seen so much interest in waste reduction in North America. It's tremendous compared to when we started and there were no Recyclopedias or waste exchanges. Previously, it was just us providing waste exchanges guides. Now we have competitors and we think that is great because there is a lot of work to do."

iWasteNot Systems has a team of 7 programmers and a total staff of 17, with workers all over Canada, Mexico and even in Bangladesh. This year, iWasteNot Systems is purchasing and merging with Toronto-based Graphically Correct Media to further expand its services.

iWasteNot Systems offer programs to reduce, reuse and recycle waste and surplus materials. They provide zero waste tools that increase the value of surplus items and materials - converting them from liabilities to assets. The ReCap platform (short for recapture) helps organizations reuse internally instead of paying to replace. Their Surplus and Reuse Marketplace systems do the same thing for exchanges between organizations.

Some of their Zero Waste Guide-Directories include Recyclopedia, which they provide for the State of Delaware. They do a custom version of Recyclopedia called Reuse Wood for both the Canadian and American Wood Councils.

"There is more and more emphasis on moving to a circular economy. Reducing, reusing and recycling is part of that," says Norm, a retired Parks Canada superintendent with a background in protecting animals, plants and the environment. "We ask the question: If I can't use it, can someone else?"

The company has come a long way since Norm purchased it as a hobby business from three university students back in 2004. It remained a small operation over the years with some peaks such as 2012 and some deep valleys. Norm almost pulled the plug a few times. But he continued to have faith in how the software could help sustain and maintain the environment.