Austin, TX-based Smarter Sorting hits $5M in seed funding
- Smarter Sorting, an Austin, TX-based company which specializes in a sorting technology to help municipalities and retailers handle household hazardous waste (HHW), has hit $5 million in seed funding, according to a press release. The company said it would use the funding to continue "investing in the machine learning driven technology that has allowed it create a one of kind smart chemical database."
- Smarter Sorting provides a scanning device workers can use at HHW facilities to quickly identify and sort material for donation, reuse or recycling, rather than incineration. Smarter Sorting currently works with 17 municipalities and several retailers in the U.S. and Canada.
- Of the money raised, RTP Ventures provided $2.5 million. RTP is a capital ventures fund based in New York City.
The company plans to use the additional funding to bring its software to scale and to work with larger U.S.-based retailers and more local governments.
Instead of manually consulting a spreadsheet or chart that tells them what to do with each kind of material, employees at HHW sites using the Smarter Sorting technology to scan the container and then observe, on screen, how the material is supposed to be sorted and handled.
The software is adaptable, CEO Chris Ripley told Waste Dive, and can be customized based on different state disposal laws. Currently, the company has partnered with local governments in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, South Carolina, California, Vermont, Texas, Utah, Arizona and Florida.
After sorting at HHW sites, Smarter Sorting then handles the logistics of disposing, selling or donating the collected material. Shipments with the company include Smarter Sorting taking full producer responsibility and providing a record of where the material is delivered.
The company makes it clear that it's not trying to displace or replace current waste management practices. When speaking with waste haulers and other traditional sector companies, Ripley tells them he wants to help them move material "in the most economical fashion."
While the specialty service and technology aren't likely to put traditional waste haulers out of work, they could be useful tools for the industry at large. If HHW facilities are performing more efficiently because of the platform, the private haulers working with those facilities are able to perform more efficiently, saving on hours driven, for example.
Collecting, sorting and reusing, donating or selling HHW material can also assist WTE companies. Rather than taking up daily capacity with paints or cleaning material, WTE facilities can dedicate more operating time (and emissions limits) to material with a higher energy output. The work also inherently helps local governments operating the HHW facilities, as it can cut down on hours necessary to sort material and make new employee training easier.
Follow Cody Boteler on Twitter