A More Innovative Reuse and Recycling

A project led by Avfall Sverige, Ignite Sweden and partners resulted in two pilot projects between the city of Mölndal and the startups Brighteco and Parlametric.

Startups can contribute to waste reduction by improving the reuse and recycling of products. This is one of the key conclusions of a project led by Avfall Sverige, together with partners including Ignite Sweden, that aimed to increase the reuse of household bulky waste by matching startups with innovative and circular solutions to recycling centers.

Behind the project are Avfall Sverige, Business Region Göteborg, Göteborg Kretslopp och Vatten, Ignite Sweden, Södertälje Municipality, Södertälje Science Park, Sörab, Telge Återvinning and VafabMiljö.

The Matchmaking

Everyday at their recycling centers, municipalities receive a significant amount of things that could have been reused or recycled. To tackle this problem, they are looking for innovative solutions that can help society improve the reuse and recycling of products.

Ignite Sweden played an active role in the project, conducted between September 2021 and February 2022, by using our method for scouting and matchmaking startups with the needs and challenges of the recycling centers. The goal of the project was to initiate two pilot projects to test new solutions and business models.

After a process where the challenges were shown to 1,900 startups, 34 companies applied to join the project. Twenty startups with a wide variety of solutions were selected to participate in a matchmaking workshop onsite at recycling centers located in Södertälje and Gothenburg as well as a digital event with Sörab.

“There was a great interest from startups in our network to work with recycling. One challenge for them is that they cannot run development projects without funding, but as long as there is a budget, they will proceed with the project,” says Cathrin Johansson, former Head of Startup Relations at Ignite Sweden.

Cathrin Johansson (Ignite Sweden)

The Selection

Two important factors in the selection of both the startups and the recycling centers for the pilot projects were to make sure that the startups had the capacity to run the pilot and that the needs owners had the mandate and budget to actually implement the pilot in 2022.

Procurement managers were involved in the process to ensure the pilots were conducted in accordance with the laws and regulations of the contracting authorities.

The city of Mölndal was one of the participating organizations that were matched with startups during the workshops in December. After the workshop, they expressed a great interest in running the pilots and signed two deals with the startups only a month after the workshop.

The startups that were selected for the pilot projects were Parlametric, a company from Lund that works with narrative analysis of text and speech data, and Uminova Innovation alumni Brighteco which delivers light as a service.

“It is fantastic that the project has led to real business. The project has demonstrated that there is a real interest from all participating parties to be part of the solution. There were many great ideas among the startups that could also be tested in potential future pilots,” says project manager Tomas Thernström.

Tomas Thernström

The Pilot Projects

These are the two pilots that resulted from the project:

Smarter digital survey
A collaboration between Återbruket Kikås in the City of Mölndal and the startup Parlametric
The pilot aims to analyze data in order to understand the driving forces, reasoning and obstacles when it comes to donating for reuse.

Light of our waste
A collaboration between the city and Mölndal and the startup Brighteco
The project aims to collect broken flat screens to be used in the manufacturing of lighting fixtures.

Photo: Brighteco’s Stefan Smedberg inspects the TV and computer monitors left at a recycling center. Photo credit: Avfall och Miljö

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