Silicon Valley startup Olyns raises $4M in funding to solve US recycling problem and reduce plastic waste
The United States generates approximately 300 million tons of waste annually, according to a report from The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). However, only 25% of that solid waste is recycled.
Currently, the recycling rates in the U.S. and other countries around the world are extremely low, with nearly half of Americans having no access to recycling services. Even for those who do have access, many of the recyclable materials are not actually recycled and instead end up in landfills, incinerators, or oceans.
It’s for this reason that Campbell, California startup Olyns is on a mission to fix the broken system and reduce the plastic waste that’s polluting our rivers and oceans. “When we learned that 86% of plastic NEVER gets recycled, we decided to do something about it,” the founders said on the company’s website.
Unlike other recycling companies, Olyns works by placing its recycling cubes in places that are convenient like grocery stores, shopping malls, gas stations, and stadiums, “so people don’t have to go out of their way to recycle.” Olyns’ Cubes are machines that identify a bottle as recyclable, crush it, and sort it.
Olyns claims its Cubes use sophisticated AI techniques and algorithms that can identify any container. The Cubes also introduce a new revenue paradigm for recycling by doubling as retail media displays and providing data-driven insights into consumer recycling behavior and brand-specific recycling rates, the company added
To further expand its network, Olyns announced today that it has raised $4 million in Series A funding led by Vanedge Capital. Olyns will also use the funding to accelerate the development of AI-driven technology and expand its dual recycling and media network.
Founded by CEO Philip Stanger and John Buchowski, Olyns currently partners with The Coca-Cola Company, PepsiCo, and Mars Wrigley and is expanding its network of recycling Cubes in California, Georgia, and other US states.
Olyns’ advertising-driven business model delivers value to site hosts, brands, and people. Retail partners gain foot traffic, a share of the revenue from ad sales, and a turnkey recycling solution; brand advertisers reach consumers in-store and enhance their sustainability credentials; and customers gain access to convenient recycling, bottle deposit redemptions (in “bottle bill” states), and valuable rewards.
“Olyns set out to address the challenges surrounding plastic waste by rethinking the consumer recycling ecosystem,” said Philip Stanger, Co-Founder and CEO of Olyns. “Momentum is growing, and this funding will help us expand and grow our network, which is proven to be both profitable and scalable. The investment will accelerate the development of our technology and build out our network of Cubes, bringing us closer to changing the perception of recycling and improving recycling rates in the United States and around the globe.”
“Innovating the consumer approach to plastic waste is an essential step in the shift to a circular economy. The Olyns platform is a proven, effective, and profitable model that shifts the consumer recycling paradigm,” said Paul Lee, Managing Partner at Vanedge Capital. “We are excited to support their talented founding team, who came out of Apple, on their mission to build a business that can make a meaningful difference and impact.”
“More than 140 million tons of plastic from packaging become waste every year, accounting for over 45% of all plastic waste generated in the world,” Stanger said. “Consumer goods companies have been searching for ways to reduce their impact and build a sustainable, circular model for their products. Olyns will help make that a reality.”