Let’s start with some statistics. Over 20 per cent of what goes into the red bin could have been recycled, and 75 per cent of waste that should be recycled ends up in landfill. It’s no doubt that the time is now to make a serious change. That is exactly what Giorgio Baracchi and Marco Prayer Galletti set out to do when they launched RecycleSmart in 2019.
“We wanted to come up with a solution that used technology to unlock the value of existing resources: the gig economy, and local waste management infrastructure,” said CEO and co-founder Baracchi. “Our mission has always been to help councils find a resident-centric way to divert as much waste as possible from landfill, by making recycling easy and convenient.”
The National Waste Policy Action Plan is targeting an 80 per cent average resource recovery rate from all waste streams by the year 2030. To achieve this, regional recycling solutions are beginning to take higher priority on the national agenda, to address the gap in recycling infrastructure that has plagued regional areas.
Currently available in 12 metropolitan councils across Sydney, RecycleSmart is set to announce its first regional council partnership launching soon, and is eager to demonstrate its ability to cater to more remote, geographically dispersed communities.
“We are excited to explore just how adaptable our service can be in supporting the unique needs of regional councils as they do their part to meet landfill reduction targets,” Baracchi said.
RecycleSmart’s proprietary platform enables residents in partnering councils to book an on-demand home collection of tricky-to-recycle items; items that don’t go into the recycling bin, but can still be recycled. These include categories like soft plastics, wearable clothes, e-waste, batteries and bulbs.
Residents can subscribe for a regular monthly collection service or book a one-off Power Pickup at their convenience and pack their recyclables into reusable or disposable shopping bags. RecycleSmart supports local employment by contracting drivers from the region, who come to the resident’s home on a nominated day and collect the bags from their doorstep, before sorting the items and disposing them via local recycling programs.
In an effort to tackle the confusion caused by inconsistent recycling rules from council to council, RecycleSmart also offers a free educational app, Recyclopedia, which acts as a comprehensive database of information on how to recycle in each council area in Australia.
In April 2022 , RecycleSmart celebrated the milestone of 100,000 bags diverted from landfill, which equates to roughly 180,000 kilograms of waste.
“We look forward to continuing to provide existing and new council partners with data-driven insights to help them guide their landfill reduction and resource recovery initiatives,” Baracchi said. “Working collaboratively to make waste management transparent, flexible and accessible will be key to solving Australia’s recycling dilemma.”