Resourcify Plays Matchmaker Between Recyclers and Generators to Spur Circularity

The platform provides information on which streams can be sold to secondary resources. Companies get data on how often their containers are picked up and their fill levels, along with the recommended pickup frequency. They leverage the technology to schedule pickups.

Arlene Karidis, Freelance writer

March 20, 2024

5 Min Read
NicoElNino / Alamy Stock Photo

Waste management is fragmented in many parts of the world, and some digital tech companies are pitching tools they say will help bridge the gaps. Resourcify is among those leading the way in Europe with a cloud-based platform that connects waste producers to recyclers with the promise of making their jobs easier and faster.

It’s designed to help corporations optimize their waste management through data digitization, while leading recyclers directly to these large generators who have the waste volumes they want.

The way it works is an application programming interface (API) connects to and pulls data from the recycler’s system that flows into the Resourcify platform, providing waste producers information on materials streams, volumes and weights of materials, and showing the optimization potential from sorting and recycling.

Ultimately, generators get a more transparent view of how their waste management practices play out and feedback for improvement, says Felix Heinricy, managing director and co-founder, Resourcify.

The platform provides information on which streams can be sold to secondary resources. Companies get data on how often their containers are picked up and their fill levels, along with the recommended pickup frequency. They leverage the technology to schedule pickups.

Resourcify tells companies the end result is greater efficiency of materials use, efficiency in operations, and in logistics—and cost savings. They get a general idea for themselves using a calculator Resourcify developed to determine savings potential based on metrics like waste volumes, current costs, and implemented optimization measures.

Recyclers can invoice digitally for transport costs, container rentals, or recyclables sales and electronically transfer records to their accounting departments.

About three million waste pickups run through the platform a year from about 15,000 active sites spread across Europe. Customers are manufacturers, health care organizations, restaurants, and other retailers. Some industry knowns who tap into the technology are fast food restaurant corporation McDonald’s, Frankfurt Airport in Germany, pharmaceutical manufacturer Johnson & Johnson, and DIY chain Hornbach.

“We target global companies that have complicated situations, usually multiple stores or huge production facilities with many sublocations,” Heinricy says.

They get a breakdown by location of how much was picked up, the type and quality of waste. They can use the data to benchmark between different locations and inform for instance where more training is needed, and where there is opportunity to recover more recyclables that would otherwise likely be incinerated.

The team behind the Hamburg, Germany-based company believes it’s in the right place and time, as they see companies and recyclers pushing hard to make a go in a challenging arena.

The companies Resourcify talks to typically have limited control over where their waste ultimately ends up or how it’s managed. They receive little waste data back for ESG reporting, a mandated and incentivized practice in Europe.

Recyclers have their pain points too; they typically depend on a middleman to connect to their supply chain. And they commonly work with legacy data and communication systems—paper, phones, and faxes.

With this platform bridging some of the gaps, companies have saved 30 to 40 percent due to improved efficiencies, and they generate up to three times more revenue from recyclables, according to Angeley Mullins, chief commercial officer, Resourcify.

Recyclers in Resoucify’s network yield up to 30 percent higher margins per customer and up to 15 percent processing cost reductions, she says.

A second Resourcify platform allows companies to set up takeback systems, track operations, and receive insights on how much material was brought back. It’s all digitally tracked and managed. The platform is drawing interest from medical tech companies especially, like Johnson & Johnson whose single-use devices are picked up from hospitals through the program that would otherwise be thrown out or burned. 

Pickup requests are triggered through the platform. The devices are decontaminated and shredded, with the software tracking details such as how much material was taken back and saved CO2 emissions, and flagging other trends.

In Europe where Resourcify does business, as in other parts of the world, secondary resource prices are low, which is proving counterproductive to recycling.  With limited landfill space, incineration, a relatively cheap alternative, is increasingly becoming the way to manage Europeans’ trash. From 1995 to 2022 the amount of municipal waste incinerated there climbed by 29 million tons, representing a 98 percent hike, according to Eurostat.

Heinricy notices recyclers riding out the tide, stocking material and waiting until commodities pricing increases.  He sees more of them bracing for hopeful tailwinds by investing in technologies like what he sells.

His pitch to them is that it’s a way for information to become more available and usable and to open up more opportunity for generators and recyclers who otherwise each do business within their own silos.

Resourcify has raised €14m ($15.22) Series A funding, led by Vorwerk Ventures, with several further investors—Ananda Impact Ventures being one of them.

Bernd Klosterkemper, a partner at Ananda Impact Ventures, explains why his firm backs Resourcify.

“The statistics concerning waste management inefficiencies indicate that this market remains relatively untapped and has a great capacity for improvement.  Believe it or not, 50 percent of recyclables are incinerated due to incorrect sorting, and the materials cannot be reused or re-enter the production cycle.”

With such low rates of circularity globally, Resourcify is helping enterprise customers usher in a change in the sector, says Klosterkemper.

“Transforming waste management from a black box into a transparent solution is no mean feat, but the Resourcify team has proven their resilience in a highly traditional industry while maintaining their belief in a rosier future for the circular economy.”

About the Author(s)

Arlene Karidis

Freelance writer, Waste360

Arlene Karidis has 30 years’ cumulative experience reporting on health and environmental topics for B2B and consumer publications of a global, national and/or regional reach, including Waste360, Washington Post, The Atlantic, Huffington Post, Baltimore Sun and lifestyle and parenting magazines. In between her assignments, Arlene does yoga, Pilates, takes long walks, and works her body in other ways that won’t bang up her somewhat challenged knees; drinks wine;  hangs with her family and other good friends and on really slow weekends, entertains herself watching her cat get happy on catnip and play with new toys.

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