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Waste Recovery & Management Tech

Reinforcing recycling, rerouting refuse, and reducing wasteflows

Overview

Keeping waste out of landfills with sensors, robotics, and innovative recycling technologies

Global waste levels are rising, and the US leads the world in terms of municipal solid waste (MSW) generation. With conventional waste management leading to swelling landfills and sustainable development and climate change goals promoting a more circular economy, technology has a strong role to play in improving the waste management and recovery process as well as boosting recycling rates. Several startups are developing smart methods using sensors, robots, IoT, AI, and innovative recycling technologies to collect and track waste, identify recyclables, and improve recycling rates. Startups attempting to create a business out of waste are in high demand from municipalities and companies across the country.

What's driving this industry?
Market Sizing

The US waste recovery and management technology market could reach USD 30–40 billion by 2026

Conservative case

USD 31.2 Bn

Base case

USD 35.3 Bn

Expansion case

USD 39.4 Bn

USD billion0204050202120222023202420252026
View details

COVID-19 IMPACT

Increased demand for smart waste sorting and trash pickup methods:

  • AMP Robotics witnessed a growing demand for its waste sorting robotics system during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

  • Recycled Track System expanded its services in early 2021 to three cities in the Northeast, Midwest, and Western US regions, witnessing significant revenue growth from its municipal business operations during the pandemic. 

Pandemic-led new product launches:  

  • Yardbird launched an entirely online model to sell its recycled furniture amid the lockdown in March 2020. 

  • Rubicon introduced the Second Life Solution for personal protective equipment (PPE) in July 2020 to resolve the threat of an increasing amount of discarded PPE.

View detail

Market Mapping


Recycling startups account for more than half of waste recovery and management industry startups. The majority of these companies focus on recycling plastic, textiles, and electronic waste, aiming to keep the waste out of landfills by giving it a second life. Additionally, these players have attracted the most funding. 

The recycling segment is followed by waste monitoring startups that primarily use sensor-based technology and operate a cloud-based platform to allow residents and businesses to manage their waste levels and build an efficient trash pickup system. Lastly, around one-sixth of startups focus on waste sorting, using robotic and AI- based technology to sort and identify recyclables.

More than two-thirds of the startups across all of these segments are at the early or growth stages of technology development and customer acquisition. 

Incumbents
Growth
Early
Seed
Pre-Seed
Waste monitoring
?
Waste sorting
?
Recycling solutions
?
Recycled Plastic
?
Recycled textiles
?
Recycled electronic waste
?
Recycled composite materials
?
Other recycled materials
?
Recycled energy
?
EverestLabs.AI
EverestLabs.AI
EverestLabs.AI
EverestLabs.AI
EverestLabs.AI
EverestLabs.AI
EverestLabs.AI
EverestLabs.AI
EverestLabs.AI
Waste Management
Contelligent
Republic Services
Verizon
Rubicon
Recycle Track Systems
Resourcify
Sensoneo
Deep Isolation
Trash Warrior
Nordsense
CleanRobotics
WasteHero
Smart Recycling Norden
Replenysh
Sterilis
ReCircula Solutions
Zabble
Waste Logics
Veolia
AMP Robotics
Smarter Sorting
Pellenc Selective Technologies
EverestLabs.AI
Greyparrot
CleanRobotics
Bin-e
Waste Robotics
Sadako Technologies
Sortera Alloys
TrueCircle
Glacier
2B0
Uzer
Waste Management
TerraCycle
Danone
Rubicon
RoadRunner Recycling
Resourcify
ZwitterCo
Provenance
GreenSpark Software
Vartega
Aquagga
Replenysh
ZeroCycle
Dow
ExxonMobil
Adidas
Coca Cola
PepsiCo
Loews Corp
Veolia
Trinseo
Sonoco
TerraCycle
Hi-Cone
Danone
Republic Services
Foss Manufacturing
Samsung
Rothy’s
Agilyx
Outer
Fair Harbor
Nexus Circular
PureCycle Technologies
Plastic Energy
Loop Industries
Novoloop
Urban Mining Corp.
Carbios
Recycling Technologies
International Recycling Group
Pyrowave
Casca Designs Inc.
ByFusion
Veerah
Freepoint Eco-Systems
Samsara Eco
Epoch Biodesign
Alterra Energy
Myplas
NecoTECH
H&M
Adidas
Nike
Aquafil (Econyl)
TerraCycle
Hanesbrands
Infinited Fiber Company
Veja
Natural Fiber Welding
Circ
Evrnu
Ambercycle
Renewcell
Casca Designs Inc.
Looptworks
Worn Again
For Days
EEDEN
Circular Polymers by Ascend
Renaissance Textiles
Veolia
Umicore
Dell
Verizon
Redwood Materials
Northvolt
Ascend Elements (Battery Resourcers)
Li-Cycle
Lithion Recycling Inc.
Urban Mining Company
Ace Green Recycling
Green Wave Electronics
Excir
Aqua Metals
Britishvolt
Princeton NuEnergy
Nth Cycle
Li Industries
Cylib
Cyber Crunch
Primobius
Exurban
Altilium Metals
Descycle
Tozero
Renewance
ECOR
Thousand Fell
Saperatec
Vartega
Sustainable Composites
Ford Motor Company
Sonoco
TerraCycle
Republic Services
MolyWorks
Renewed Materials
CleanFiber
Ecologic Brands
No Waste Technology
Paboco
Sortera Alloys
Nth Cycle
Woola
Sterilis
Feltwood
MAA'VA
KLAW industries
Waste Management
Republic Services
Bioenergy Devco
Inventure Chemical
SeAb Energy
Eco Tech Ceram
Gen3Bio

The Disruptors


Well funded recycling disruptors chart a path for growth

More than half of the startups in the waste recovery and management industry focus on recycling with a focus on textile and plastics. Most of these companies are in the early or growth stages and use commercialized technology that enables them to recycle waste into materials that are suitable for secondary use. These companies are relatively well funded and experiencing high demand for their unique proprietary technologies. These startups are also actively pursuing customer partnerships with established companies such as Panasonic, H&M, and Ralph Lauren, to strengthen their market presence. 

A smaller number of startups focusing on waste monitoring and sorting solutions have also reached the early and growth stages. These companies mainly target municipalities, Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs), and commercial businesses to deploy their solutions for improving the waste collection and sorting process. These startups are crucial for identifying recyclables and in turn improving recycling rates overall. 

Waste monitoring

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
Rubicon
383
Recycle Track Systems
112
Deep Isolation
23
Nordsense
13
CleanRobotics
11
Resourcify
11
Zabble
Unknown
Watchlist
?
Trash Warrior
WasteHero
Sensoneo
Replenysh
Sterilis
ReCircula Solutions
Smart Recycling Norden
Waste Logics

Waste sorting

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
AMP Robotics
167
Smarter Sorting
65
EverestLabs.AI
21
Sortera Alloys
20
CleanRobotics
11
Pellenc Selective Technologies
9
Glacier
5
Watchlist
?
Greyparrot
TrueCircle
Bin-e
Waste Robotics
Sadako Technologies
2B0
Uzer

Recycling solutions

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
Rubicon
383
RoadRunner Recycling
174
ZwitterCo
40
Resourcify
11
Provenance
7
GreenSpark Software
5
Aquagga
2
Watchlist
?
Vartega
Replenysh
ZeroCycle

Recycled Plastic

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
PureCycle Technologies
Public - Market cap USD 1.1 bn
Carbios
Public - Market cap USD 402.1 mn
Agilyx
Public - Market cap USD 238.1 mn
Rothy’s
519
Plastic Energy
168
Outer
65
Loop Industries
57
Samsara Eco
41
Novoloop
26
Urban Mining Corp.
22
Recycling Technologies
12
Pyrowave
7
Casca Designs Inc.
4
Nexus Circular
Unknown
Myplas
Unknown
Freepoint Eco-Systems
Unknown
Watchlist
?
Fair Harbor
Epoch Biodesign
International Recycling Group
ByFusion
NecoTECH
Alterra Energy
Veerah

Recycled textiles

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
Natural Fiber Welding
156
Infinited Fiber Company
52
Worn Again
46
Evrnu
26
Ambercycle
23
Renewcell
11
Casca Designs Inc.
4
EEDEN
Unknown
Veja
Unknown
Circular Polymers by Ascend
Unknown
Renaissance Textiles
Unknown
Watchlist
?
Circ
For Days
Looptworks

Recycled electronic waste

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
Li-Cycle
Public - Market cap USD 1.1 bn
Northvolt
7066
Ascend Elements (Battery Resourcers)
922
Redwood Materials
792
Lithion Recycling Inc.
103
Urban Mining Company
25
Princeton NuEnergy
21
Ace Green Recycling
7
Cylib
3
Tozero
3
Green Wave Electronics
3
Altilium Metals
Unknown
Excir
Unknown
Aqua Metals
Unknown
Watchlist
?
Britishvolt
Nth Cycle
Li Industries
Cyber Crunch
Renewance
Primobius
Exurban
Descycle

Recycled composite materials

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
Saperatec
11
ECOR
6
Watchlist
?
Vartega
Sustainable Composites
Thousand Fell

Other recycled materials

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
CleanFiber
57
Sortera Alloys
20
Ecologic Brands
7
Woola
3
MAA'VA
1
KLAW industries
0
Renewed Materials
Unknown
Paboco
Unknown
Watchlist
?
Nth Cycle
Sterilis
MolyWorks
Feltwood
No Waste Technology

Recycled energy

?

Disruptors

?
Funding in USD Millions
Bioenergy Devco
206
Inventure Chemical
7
Watchlist
?
SeAb Energy
Eco Tech Ceram
Gen3Bio

Rubicon

Rubicon’s services and solutions are primarily subscription based, and it expects subscriptions to comprise more than 50% of its revenue through 2025. One of the company’s product solutions, RubiconSmartCity (which was developed to help city governments with waste and recycling operations), was rolled out in over 55 cities in the US. This is available on the AWS marketplace. The solution is priced at a flat fee of USD 202,812 for 36 months. In 2020, Rubicon generated revenue of over USD 500 million. 

Rubicon acquired three companies in 2018 to strengthen their waste brokerage services: Computerised Waste Services (provides waste, recycling, brokerage, and management services), WestRock Waste Services Division (operates its own recycling facilities and paper mills), and RiverRoad waste solution (a New Jersey waste and recycling company).

During the pandemic, in July 2020, Rubicon introduced a PPE Second Life Solution in an attempt to resolve the threat of an increasing amount of discarded personal protective equipment (PPE). In addition to the back-of-house collection, where Rubicon will pick up PPE materials from businesses, the solution also offered a public-use-mail-in-program where participants can use Rubicon’s collection boxes and send via UPS or FedEx to Rubicon for waste management.

Key customers and partnerships

As of December 2021, the company’s network included around 8,000 vendor and hauler partners (of which 90% are small, independent businesses), with more than 8 million service locations across 50 states in the US and across 20 other countries (including Canada, Puerto Rico). Leading brands such as Seven Eleven, Sweet Green, Wegman, David’s Bridal , Walmart, Starbucks, FedEx, and the US city governments (including Kansas, Missouri, Baltimore) are using the company’s solutions. In 2019, Rubicon partnered with peer Terra Cyle (one of the leading recycling players) to offer the latter’s products as a part of Rubicon’s ecommerce marketplace. The company also partnered with Mars, a multinational confectionery manufacturer, in October 2022 to launch special recyclable trick-or-treating bags for celebrators of Halloween.

Funding and Financials

In December 2021, the company  announced that it will merge with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) “Founder SPAC” to go public on the NYSE. The transaction will provide Rubicon with USD 432 million in gross proceeds and will value the combined company at USD 2 billion. The deal is expected to close in Q2 2022. 

The company has raised USD 222.7 million in funding to date. The company’s last round of funding was in 2018, raising a total of USD 76.6 million.

Segment:
Waste monitoring
Total funding:
USD 382.7 million
Competitors:
RoadRunner Recycling, Trash Warrior
Disruptor Funding History

Waste monitoring:

Rubicon
Recycle Track Systems
Deep Isolation
Nordsense
CleanRobotics
Resourcify
Trash Warrior
WasteHero
Sensoneo
Replenysh
Sterilis
ReCircula Solutions

Waste sorting:

AMP Robotics
Smarter Sorting
EverestLabs.AI
Sortera Alloys
CleanRobotics
Pellenc Selective Technologies
Glacier
Greyparrot
TrueCircle
Bin-e
Waste Robotics
Sadako Technologies
2B0
Uzer

Recycling solutions:

Rubicon
RoadRunner Recycling
ZwitterCo
Resourcify
Provenance
GreenSpark Software
Aquagga
Vartega
Replenysh
ZeroCycle

Incumbents


Traditional waste management firms adopt sensors and smart technologies  

Startups in the industry primarily face competition from established general waste management service providers, which have started adopting sensor and recycling technologies via in-house innovations to recover and manage waste. This includes traditional waste management leaders such as Waste Management and Republic Services, together capturing more than half the waste management market share in the US, and further increasing their presence in the traditional space through mergers. Additionally, the industry hosts waste management players that pioneered the transition to smart waste monitoring and recycling technologies, such as Contelligent and Umicore, which have a strong presence in smart waste collection (using sensors) and recycling (electronic waste [e-waste]) methods.

In the meantime, large companies across various industries are also entering the space by focusing mainly on improving recycling rates. This includes companies such as Dell, Ford, Danone, H&M, and SC Johnson. These companies are partnering with or investing in startups to support their efforts in giving waste a second life.

Waste monitoring
Waste sorting
Recycling solutions
Recycled Plastic
Recycled textiles
Recycled electronic waste
Recycled composite materials
Other recycled materials
Recycled energy
In House Development
M&A
Partnership
Investment
Dow
ExxonMobil
H&M
Adidas
Coca Cola
PepsiCo
Loews Corp
Nike
Ford Motor Company
Waste Management
Veolia
Umicore
Contelligent
Trinseo
Aquafil (Econyl)
Sonoco
TerraCycle
Hi-Cone
Dell
Danone
Republic Services
Hanesbrands
Foss Manufacturing
Verizon
Samsung

Notable Investors


No investor data is available

Funding data are powered by Crunchbase
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