Recycle Track Systems, a waste and recycling technology company, has acquired reverse vending machine (RVM) company Cycle Technology. Financial terms were not disclosed.
New York-based RTS will acquire Cycle’s RVM technology and recycling rewards platform. It’s a move the company says is part of its long-term strategy to invest in public engagement programs that use gamification and rewards to boost recycling, including at sports stadiums and special events.
"Cycle and RTS have been collaborating over the last year and it was clear, given their size and scale, for us to formally team up,” said Cycle co-founder Anwar Khan in a statement, adding that Cycle is “thrilled to expand the impact RVMs have through RTS’s expansive portfolio of services and clients, and through the mentorship of their executive team.”
Cycle's senior leadership, including Khan, chief revenue officer Connor Pohl and chief technology officer Harrison Mount, will join RTS full-time, according to a spokesperson, though their new roles were not disclosed.
The acquisition news comes as more sports teams and stadiums are investing in recycling, diversion and waste prevention strategies in an effort to curb waste and reduce carbon footprints. The two companies announced last week that their newly dubbed “Cycle powered by RTS” RVM would appear at the Super Bowl. Anheuser-Busch’s CEO touted the RVM technology as an important facet in the beverage company’s National Recycling League, an initiative it started in 2022 to help reduce game-day waste across multiple sports leagues.
In an interview with Waste Dive in 2019, Lettieri said the company planned to seek more innovation and gamification technology investments as a way to “reinvigorate” the company.
RTS’s core business is still as a broker and third-party service provider, and it recently acquired Elytus, a third-party waste services administrator. Yet RTS first signaled its pivot toward recycling incentive program investments when it acquired Recyclebank, a rewards platform, in 2019. It later acquired the website zerowaste.com as a way to develop recycling resources and guides, according to a spokesperson.
“Our acquisition of Cycle adds an interactive, real-time recycling experience our customers can leverage,” Lettieri added in a statement.
RTS already offers sustainability services for sports arenas as part of its portfolio, including for the New York Mets' Citi Field, where the company coordinated recycling plans for special events and provided logistics services for recycling or repurposing wood from temporary stages.
Cycle also has a background in sports stadium services that allowed fans to return bottles to on-site RVMs for a chance to win sports merchandise or other prizes. It first debuted its RVMs in 2022, in partnership with Heineken USA and Inter Miami CF, when it offered the machines at DRV PNK stadium in Florida.
Cycle then expanded its business as part of the National Recycling League, the company said in a news release. Cycle has RVMs at Lincoln Financial Field, where the Philadelphia Eagles play, and at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. RTS also provided separate e-waste consulting and diversion services at Nationals Park.
Lettieri said RTS plans to continue investing in projects that offer “community engagement and education our customers need to meet their zero waste goals.”
Future plans for the company could include additional “inorganic growth” opportunities in the sector, according to the spokesperson, as well as revenue from providing RVMs from Cycle as a technology offering to future clients.