Please welcome Recyclops, a nationwide solution for accessible recycling

Meet Recyclops, the latest addition to Lerer Hippeau’s portfolio.

HQ: Orem, Utah

Founder: Ryan Smith

The problem: To Americans living in large cities and suburbs, access to recycling programs may seem like a standard municipal service. However, 38% of U.S. households do not have access to recycling services in their community. In rural or less densely populated areas of the country, trips to the recycling center may require an hour drive — or longer. Limited access to recycling infrastructure often leaves Americans without the tools they need to meet their sustainability goals and fight climate change.

Recyclops solution: Recyclops offers regular recycling pick-ups to 10,000 households across 100 cities in 10 states, including Utah, Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Virginia, and Tennessee. Leveraging the power of the gig economy, Recyclops matches available drivers with interested customers, aggregating recycling pick-ups across communities. Customers purchase a monthly subscription, and place their recyclable materials out at the curb for pick up by a Recyclops driver.

Recyclops origin story: Ryan Smith first immersed himself in the recycling industry as a college student when he moved into an apartment that didn’t offer recycling. After some research, he discovered approximately 60% of US apartments lacked recycling and he became determined to solve this problem. . As Smith immersed himself into the world of recycling he identified more and more issues associated with accessibility. While working closely with local communities to support their needs, Smith identified a business opportunity to enter the market and provide accessible recycling services to underserved markets.

Why we’re betting on it: Environmental sustainability is top of mind for many Americans today, regardless of geography. Recyclops has established its market viability through grassroots support across its 100 cities: To date, almost all of Recyclops’ growth has been organic. As part of a broader vision, we see Recyclops further verticalizing within the circular economy, managing its own recycling centers with expert sorting capabilities and reselling extremely high quality recycled materials to sustainability minded brands and manufacturers.

Our take: As consumers continue to be motivated by sustainability, the way communities collect and sort recyclable materials will only grow in importance. Recyclops’ unique approach to the gig economy allows it to scale and address often overlooked markets outside of major cities. From Allbirds to Palmetto, climate conscious brands are paving the way forward for American consumers. (Fun fact: Smith is also the brother of Cotopaxi CEO Davis Smith, another Lerer Hippeau portfolio company with a strong perspective on climate change and sustainability.)

Further reading: “Recyclops Raises $3M Seed Round To Bring Recycling Where It Doesn’t Exist” via BusinessWire.

Learn about careers at Recyclops.

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Lerer Hippeau is the most active early-stage venture capital fund in New York.