Even the largest landfills in Indonesia are at (or nearing) capacity, and the government has set a lofty goal of reducing waste by 30% by 2025. . A startup co-founded by AC Ventures and PT Barito Mitra Investama, which currently manages over 8,000 tons of waste, today announced that it has raised $5 million in Series A funding.
Other participants in the round include Basra Corporation, Paloma Capital, PT Delapan Sattu Investa, LivingLab Ventures, SMDV and Urban Gateway Fund. Founded in 2014, Waste4Change has seen a CAGR of 55.1% since 2017 and is present in 21 Indonesian cities, its services are currently used by about 100 B2B customers and more than 3,500 households.
Waste4Change was created by founder and CEO Mohamed Bijaksana Junrosano based on discussions between PT Greeneration, an Indonesian NGO, and PT Bumi Lestari Bali (ecoBali), a waste management company, to establish a company that would reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills. Junerosano is an environmental engineer by training and has spent 16 years in the solid waste sector.
According to Junrosano, a big opportunity is created by Indonesia’s low recycling rate (11 percent to 12 percent), which means that many valuable recyclable materials are left behind.
“Waste reduction is a priority, followed by material optimization and recycling, supporting the concept of a truly circular economy,” he told TechCrunch.
Waste4Change will use the new funding to expand and increase its waste disposal capacity to 100 tonnes per day over the next 18 months, with plans to reach over 2,000 tonnes per day over the next five years.
According to Junrosano, Waste4Change differs from traditional waste management solutions by providing an end-to-end solution with a focus on sustainability and zero waste. Part of the strategy includes further digital integration to monitor and record the waste disposal process and automate the material recovery facilities.
“We see digital integration as an important tool to build a sustainable waste management ecosystem,” he said. The goal is always to create harmony between environment, economy and people. Waste4Change’s digital integration strategy this year and next includes improving its waste reporting and tracking for customers after their waste disposal process is completed.
To use Waste4Change, customers can collect their pre-sorted waste or ask a team to pick it up themselves. The company currently has 108 employees and 141 waste disposal operators, and plans to add 52 more people to its team and work with 300 informal waste collectors and SMEs. Informal waste collectors include scavengers, landfills, waste dumps and garbage collectors.
For recycling business partners, including informal waste collectors, Waste4Change is building a platform to help sell and buy solid waste with the company. The goal is to monitor the waste disposal process and increase accuracy. It is also running a program called Send Waste, where consumers can send waste to Waste4Change collection points. An app tells you what kind of waste to send, where to find a pickup point, and what kind of reward you can get.
Junerosano said informal waste collectors are selective about the materials they collect, including PET bottles, glass and cardboard. But this means that unwanted materials like PP plastic, multi-layers and styrofoam are often left behind, polluting the environment. To combat that, Waste4Change has launched a service called Waste Credit, which gives incentives to pick up certain materials and makes it easier for waste pickers to build businesses.
“Given the critical role of the informal sector in improving Indonesia’s recycling, we aim to build a waste disposal platform that keeps the system sustainable,” he said. “We are excited to bring it to life in collaboration with other industry stakeholders in the informal sector and environmental reduction, reuse, recycling (3R) including temporary waste storage facilities.”
In a statement, AC Ventures Founding Partner Pandu Sjahrir said, “Waste4Change is a pioneer in providing end-to-end waste management solutions. Sustainability is the core focus of the group, committed to building a better future for Indonesia. The company is proving that it has reached product market fit and has the potential to expand across the country.