RecycleSmart raises $1.15m as demand for responsible recycling surges

Australian waste technology company RecycleSmart has reported that it managed to raise $1.15 million from 1014 investors, allowing it to accelerate its national expansion plans as demand increases for its responsible recycling services.

Dubbed as Australia’s “Uber for waste,” RecycleSmart collects almost everything that cannot be placed in the yellow council bins (such as batteries, soft plastics, coffee pods, blister packs, vapes, polystyrene, electronics, and clothes) and recycles or repurposes it. Customers can also book pick-ups for the items to be collected, as well as provide analyses of the collected recyclables and provide valuable insights to the customers.

The crowdfunding campaign comes amidst recent reports highlighting a dire need for improved battery recycling practices with more than 1000 fires in the last year alone being caused by improper battery disposal.

RecycleSmart co-founder and CEO Giorgio Baracchi said that the company saw strong demand for the funding round, particularly from customers.

“In the first 48 hours of the campaign going live on Birchal, 500 expressions of interest were lodged, making it the fastest start to a crowdfund on the platform this year,” Baracchi said. “What delighted us most was that our customers were some of our strongest supporters. As the only service that provides traceability, transparency, and round-the-clock reporting for a reasonable price, we know how important we are to them.”

“Through our partners, soft plastics will be shredded and converted to feedstock oil,” Baracchi added. “We donate clothes and textiles in sellable condition to the Australian Red Cross or other charities and repurpose and recycle if they’re not. Valuable materials are extracted from e-waste. Polystyrene is granulated and pelletised to be transformed into raw material that can be used to make park benches, skirting boards, and even bee hives. We make sure every item has a second life.”

The company, which has 15 full-time employees, has saved 800 tonnes of material from landfill since its inception in 2019 and in the last 12 months alone, RecycleSmart has doubled its customer numbers, revenue and valuation. Since launching a B2B offering just under a year ago, nearly 800 companies have registered their interest, including Canva, Google, John Holland, Dolby Australia and WeWork.

“Every year Australia sends roughly 76 million tonnes of material to landfill, and corporations account for more than 80 per cent of that,” Baracchi said. “With the clock ticking on the Federal Government’s 2025 National Packaging Targets and Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek pushing for stricter rules to boost recycling, Australian companies are feeling the heat to step up and manage their waste better.”

RecycleSmart has also partnered with councils to provide subsidised, regular collections. Sydney’s Randwick City Council Operations Coordinator Graham Hope said the council had struggled to find a solution for soft plastics before partnering with RecyleSmart.

“RecycleSmart has been fantastic to partner with,“ Hope said. “The complexity of information we can access through their online service is second to none.”

Birchal co-founder and CEO Matt Vitale said the crowdfunding platform was delighted to manage a second round for the company.

“We’re thrilled to have completed round two for RecycleSmart,” Vitale said. “Their success speaks volumes – 800,000 kgs of waste diverted and impressive traction and growth since their last raise. RecycleSmart is inspiring a movement towards a cleaner Australia; making recycling as easy as ordering a pizza.”

RecycleSmart is also backed by Antler, Brisbane Angels, and Prisma Capital.

This story was originally published on Inside Small Business.

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