Think of Recykal as an e-commerce company, but for waste. The end-to-end digital solutions provider connects waste collectors with recyclers. Founded in 2015, Recykal is a waste marketplace that aims to ease “a complex supply chain,” according to co-founder Anirudha Jalan. It claims to have helped recycle at least 200,000 metric tons of waste material that would have otherwise ended up in landfills.
This interview has been edited for clarity and brevity.
You are a marketplace for waste materials. How does that work?
In our circular-economy marketplace or a waste marketplace, the sellers are the informal or semi-formal sector sellers such as kabadiwalas or waste aggregators, and the buyers are recyclers. For instance, you can have an aggregator in Bengaluru or in Varanasi selling PET bottles, and then, one truck of that will make its way to the closest recycler. The recycler could be a company as large as Reliance Industries Ltd. or the Aditya Birla Group or a small family business.
We started with plastics, then we moved on to electronic waste, paper, and metals. So, for example, we sell steel scrap to Tata Steel and many others.
What sort of tech solutions do you provide in managing waste?
We have various tools and tech interventions which allow us to get further into the supply chain of waste. All waste that’s generated has to go to a hyperlocal facility: a PET bottle thrown in Bengaluru has to be compressed, compacted, etc. We’ve technology that enables that collection center to connect with bulk waste generators, with residential communities, etc. It also helps in gathering data and plugging it on our marketplace.
We also provide tech solutions to help brands manage their extended producer responsibility (EPR) obligations: Brands like LG, Unilever, Samsung all have obligations to recycle what they “pollute.”
What is the incentive for sellers to market on your platform and for buyers to buy from you?
Consistency and quality. Most recyclers today operate at 50–80% because they don’t have access to consistent supplies. When we onboard a seller, we carry out on-site quality inspections and provide visibility of that quality to the buyer.
We have cameras installed above the conveyor belts at waste sorting facilities, which helps us differentiate bottles of a certain brand from another. If it’s been raining heavily, we know it’ll affect the moisture content of the bale. We can plug that information into our technology and provide that visibility to the buyer: We can tell them 2% additional moisture is coming their way.
Read More: What fuels India’s leading waste commerce company