Turn Trash into Treasure: RecycleMatch

March 7, 2010

9:15 pm

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure – or in this case, one company’s waste could be useful materials for another organization. Houston-based RecycleMatch aims to help match those would-be symbiotic partners by creating an online marketplace where individuals or companies can list their unused materials, byproducts, or other resources for others to find.

Listing the materials you have available or the items you are seeking is free. RecycleMatch is performance based, so once a successful match has been made, site users receive a fee – 50 percent of the total value of the transaction, which includes the cost avoidance of disposing of the materials plus the sales price of the materials. If it’s a recurring material stream, there is a three-year, decreasing fee structure. If the match has no cost avoidance or revenue, there’s no fee. From their site:

“Our unique approach allows incentives to flow between those who have a supply of materials that would otherwise be disposed of at a cost, and those who have a demand for these materials.”

RecycleMatch has a number of interesting items. Listed under the “material available” section,  you’ll find such things as “stream of vegetable byproducts,” “post-consumer plastic water bottle scrap,” and “carbon toner powder.” On the flip side, other organizations are seeking such items as vinyl billboard banners and tarps, recycled rubber sheets, and automotive seat belt straps. (Hmmm, perhaps another creative “Project Runway” challenge?)  Listings are nationwide so, like Ebay, sellers and purchasers must determine how to transport goods, and RecycleMatch is not responsible for ensuring the completion of each transaction.

The case studies are convincing. While the majority of examples are from outside of RecycleMatch, including international and domestic cases (Ford Motor Co.), they clearly illustrate the value of this type of business. And RecycleMatch has already been successful in matching a Houston energy company that had 180,000 pounds of unnecessary glass with a company that purchased the material to make countertops and tile, creating value for multiple parties instead of 180,000 pounds of landfill.


Look for RecycleMatch at the TECH cocktail SXSW: Johnny Cash Blackout Sunday event, presented by Microsoft BizSpark and Volusion. RecycleMatch is a finalist in the 2010 SXSW Accelerator program.

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Jen Consalvo is the Cofounder and COO of Tech.Co. She previously worked in product development for almost 13 years at AOL for audiences of millions. Follow her on Twitter at: @noreaster.

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