Author: Linda Grieder
From waste to opportunities
Turn waste into
opportunities! The start-up RethinkResource is creating an online marketplace
where producing and processing companies can trade their side- and waste-streams.
There is a huge drive from consumers towards responsible and sustainable consumption. Entrepreneurs that meet this demand are extremely successful. However, the main restriction for the producers to make these sustainable products is the limited access to secondary resources, especially at large scale. As secondary resources are considered the materials that have already been used at least once, and can be used again as starting materials for new processes. This marketplace provides a solution to give the producers access to those resources.
Producing and processing companies from all
industries can use the marketplace to trade their side- and waste-streams. Trading
becomes more beneficial when pure side-streams and large quantities of material
are traded. Anyone using side-streams from other processes as their raw materials
can profit from the platform, especially for resources that are not standardized
as commodities. Standardized commodities such as beef, soy and wheat are already
Waste or side streams
“In industry, there is no clear distinction
between waste and non-waste as there is for consumers. All material streams are
somewhere in between being “waste” and “non-waste” depending on the valuable
properties of the material. Side-streams turn into waste when people don’t
realize they are valuable”, explains Julian Kern, Chief Sustainability Officer
Re-use fish waste
We have a demand-driven model on the marketplace: entrepreneurs can register a side-stream or make an offer to request a side-stream.
For example, an entrepreneur who is using fish waste in their products can post a request for fish waste.
Other people would be able to see that request and make a proposal
to them. Then, the entrepreneur can review the proposals and buy the fish waste
from those suppliers. For companies that
are interested, they can sign up for beta-testing with us.
Side-streams turn into waste when people don’t realize their value.
is working with the first pilot customers at the moment, making sure the basic functionality
works before moving towards advanced features. They plan to open the marketplace
in the summer of 2018. “There is a lot more to making the platform work than we
initially imagined”, tells Linda Grieder, CEO of RethinkResource. At a later stage, they will also implement the possibility to offer and
buy “in-between” products, for instance, from companies who turn waste into protein-rich
Future of waste
argues, “There are more and more applications of secondary resources that could
replace primary resources in the future, especially at large scales that makes
trading easier and more attractive. Potato peels, raspberry kernels, used canvas or used textile fibres are only some of the examples that can be given for secondary resources. The ideal state is one where materials are
kept in the economy at as high a value as possible. The loop is slowly closing
towards a circular economy.”
RethinkResource endeavors to implement a circular economy in Europe. Besides the marketplace, RethinkResource offers an
associated consulting business with a focus on material streams and a product
certificate for consumer products made from side-streams. This combination of a
marketplace and community allows users to emerge as industry leaders with
respect to resource stewardship.