Waste reduction startup RecycleSmart raises $1.15 million in crowdfunding campaign

- May 19, 2024 2 MIN READ
Marco Prayer and Giorgio Baracchi
RecycleSmart cofounders Marco Prayer and Giorgio Baracchi
A recycling startup dealing with problem products, such as soft plastics, coffee pods, blister packs and vapes, has raised $1.15 million from 1014 investors in a crowdfunding campaign.

Five-year-old Sydney-based RecycleSmart plans to accelerate it national expansion with the funds.

In the last 12 months, RecycleSmart has doubled its customer numbers, revenue and also seen its valuation jump from $15 million to $30m for the raise.

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.  

RecycleSmart cofounder and CEO Giorgio Baracchi said customers were strong backers of the raise.

“What delighted us most was that our customers were some of our strongest supporters,” he said.

“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.”

The business also has venture backing from Antler, Brisbane Angels, and Prisma Capital.

Recycle smart has saved 800 tonnes of material from landfill since its inception in 2019.  It collects almost everything – around 100 challenging recyclable materials – that can’t be placed in the yellow council bins and recycles or repurposes it, including batteries, clothes, soft plastics, e-waste, polystyrene and more. Soft plastics became an urgent problem in late 2022 after one of Australia’s largest soft plastic recycling programs, REDcycle, collapsed.

Baracchi said customers to book pickups via the app, and the startup analyses the collected recyclables, to offer data and insights to its clients.

“Through our partners, soft plastics will be shredded and converted to feedstock oil. We donate clothes and textiles in sellable condition to the Australian Red Cross or other charities and repurpose and recycle if they’re not,” he said.

“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.”

Canva’s Dan Bloom is a customer.

“RecyleSmart was able to satisfy all our waste needs and collect everything from one spot,” he said.

“The access to data was also crucial for us. It provides invaluable insights and lets us congratulate our team and make them feel good about their job and about being leaders when it comes to corporate Australia taking responsibility for its waste.”

RecycleSmart has also partnered with councils to provide subsidised, regular collections, including with Sydney’s Randwick City Council.