Sustainable Industry

Green startups bring innovative and sustainable solutions to the industrial sector

Services provided by greentechs include waste management, reverse logistics, and carbon emission reduction and effluent treatment projects

Sustainable actions have been growing from strength to strength, in particular in the industrial sector, as an attempt to minimize the effects of climate change. In this way, green startups – or simply greentechs – have been created to offer innovative technological solutions that are increasingly efficient and sustainable for the industrial sector.

Startups are companies with a focus on technology and innovation that aim to develop and improve a business model based on innovative ideas. Today, the green side of such companies is vital for the sustainable development of the industrial sector. In Brazil, there are now 102 of them according to the Brazilian Association of Startups, and they provide solutions for waste management, reverse logistics for recycling, projects to reduce carbon emissions and treat effluents.

Waste management – ​​Recicla Club is one of these startups. It was established in 2018, and its main mission is to create a world without waste. In order to achieve this, it provides waste management services and solutions for industrial companies with guaranteed traceability from generation to collection and disposal.

“Our startup offers subscription-based waste management services, and a single subscription covers all requirements of a company. We collect and dispose of all types of waste”, said director of Recicla Club Priscila Faria.

Recicla Club has managed more than 21 millions kilos of waste to date, generating savings in excess of BRL 2.8 million for its clients.

Recicla Club’s operations rely on a smart waste management approach. It does not have physical facilities, such as sheds and trucks, and the waste is collected by local partners. “We currently have more than 130 accredited partners, so a company’s operations are optimized as the waste leaves it and goes to disposal,” says Priscila.

Recicla Club’s operates primarily in the state of Minas Gerais, and is planning to expand to São Paulo. However, Priscila believes that it is able to operate throughout the country. “We have mapped the local partners that can meet this demand and, in 30 days, we can start operating in any town or city,” she says.

Recicla Club’s client portfolio includes large industrial companies in the food sector, mining companies and lubricant manufacturers such as Petronas, though the service is also available to small and medium-sized companies.

“Our mission is to ensure that access to the service is also extended to medium and small companies. Our subscriptions start from BRL 1,000, so small and medium-sized ones are also able to afford the service,” says Priscila.

Reverse logistics – Green Mining’s services leverage reverse logistics processes with a social differential, as it ensures that workers who collect recyclable materials have their labor rights through formal employment and receive a fair price for the materials they collect.

“We capture waste from the environment and return it to the supply chain. This is our essence, our purpose. Green Mining’s great differential lies in the ‘S’, the social aspect in the ESG concept, that is, respecting people in this process,” says Rodrigo Oliveira, CEO of Green Mining.

“We as a company set out to have formal employment arrangements with waste pickers and cart pushers, and now set out to pay the actual price for the waste collected by those hard working pickers/pushers,” he says.

The startup works on a service delivery basis, where it charges a monthly fee to collect used packages and feed them back into the production loop, thus getting rid of middlemen.

“We are hired by companies to provide this logistics service and the price paid for the material collected goes entirely to the waste pickers. Green Mining will not retain any amount, and this is the great differential of our company.  We are not in the market simply as another middleman; we are, in fact, a facilitator in the process to ensure that the people working arduously on a daily basis can get the most value for their work,” he says.

Thus, according to Ricardo, this significantly boosts the amount of recycled waste, which is a win-win for both the company and the worker.

Green Mining currently collects around 35 tons of waste per month and has received orders from São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Brasilia, in addition to specific projects in Trancoso, Fernando de Noronha and Chapada dos Veadeiros.

Innovation – Recycling is the core business of Eco Panplas, and it has developed a technology for the decontamination of plastic containers of used lubricating oil. The process does not involve water, thus ensuring that the plastic is properly recycled without any risks or environmental liabilities, as no effluents or waste are generated.

“We use this process to reclaim 17,000 liters of oil every month, which become by-products for the industrial sector, and this has helped save 17 billion liters of water since 2018 and decontaminate more than 10 million containers. The plastic containers then become very high quality raw materials, which are fed back into the industrial sector as new lubricant containers,” say Felipe Cardoso, CEO of Eco Panplas.

According to Felipe, the idea of ​​creating this startup was prompted by the market need for a solution to recycle this type of product efficiently. “Recycling those containers was very difficult. When this was done, it was not in an efficient and cost-effective manner, and so this idea came up among the partners, who were already working in the recycling industry. It took three years until the design reached a viable level,” he said.

It should be pointed out that, in order to develop innovative technologies, green startups often rely on impact accelerators that are able to provide not only financial support, but also legal and managerial advice for the new business.