Fundwaste is a tech-driven waste to wealth company dedicated to improving the environment by paying SMEs for their recycled paper, cardboard and plastics.
Fundwaste helps to facilitate a closed loop for the packaging industry by acting as recycler and broker for high quality recycled material. SMEs are an under served sector in terms of recycling. They receive an on demand collection service timed to suit their needs and a regular cash injection. Packaging manufacturers want a reliable source of high quality recycled materials for their own production. Offering a brokerage service to companies in the recycling market whilst taking care of the logistics, Fundwaste offers free collections and drop offs for their clean paper, cardboard and plastic waste.
The technology uses advanced machine learning algorithms to monitor the quality of paper and plastic being collected, ensuring that the items passed to manufacturers are always of a premium quality.
In return for their uncontaminated and sorted waste, SMEs, schools and charities are provided the market price for their recycling. This pricing is shown on the App prior to its collection, with a cash deposit made upon collection. Higher quality waste attracts a higher price and the system incentivises and encourages behavioural change in the organisations using the service.
The waste is then sold to large scale packaging manufacturers for reuse in packaging.
Behavioural change in the community is also encouraged through the targeting of schools, which are offered the same service to monetarise their waste giving the school additional revenue to support their activities.
Fundwaste received no public sector financial support and works purely as an effective business model. The CEO and co-founder has a business background in recycling and recognised the business potential. A warehouse and relationships with local providers and Local Authorities is required.
Evidence of success
By May 21:
8 staff, 160 SME users in Glasgow, 44,127 kg of cardboard and 5,375kg of SME plastic recycled.
Planning to launch: Edinburgh July 2021; Manchester and London in September 21; Leeds and Newcastle by March 2022. The company expects to be processing 30 tonnes of cardboard and 4 tonnes of plastic per site within three months of every new site launch.
Schools: 12 by December 22
Mindset of SMEs to understand the value of their waste; waste quality education to get highest price; overcoming tech hesitancy amongst some SMEs. Using sales people rather than traditional recycled waste operatives in the collection has been effective in overcoming these challenges.
Potential for learning or transfer
The technology has been developed by Fundwaste to enable expansion into new regions and territories. The operational infrastructure and technology will remain the same with only language considerations required for transfer. Consideration has been given to the practicalities of different means of expansion including franchising.
Distance to the warehouse and a critical mass of population/business density is required.
There may be some need to focus on behavioural change amongst SMEs.
Consideration of regional/national waste management policies may need consideration to allow for private collection.
A warehouse and relationships with local providers and Local Authorities is required.
The company made the conscious decision to not hire recycling experienced staff, but non-recycling sales and marketing staff to deliver a strong customer experience. The results show rapid changes in customer behaviour towards recycling as a direct consequence of this customer rapport.