The Hamburg-based start-up Recyclingfüchse” is now managing waste for companies in the city. A few years ago, more than 90 per cent of commercial waste was disposed of or incinerated. In summer 2017, the Renewed Commercial Waste Ordinance came into force and Benjamin Borngräber, 34, had repeated enquiries from companies asking “what now”.
The recycling rate is set to rise from seven to 30 per cent. Every trader has to separate paper, glass, plastics, metals and bio waste as well as wood and textiles at the point of origin, ensure that they are recycled sensibly and document this process. This is where Borngräber found his niche and realized: “Companies need support with implementation.” Borngräber has been working in waste management for ten years – in controlling, as a management consultant, auditor and now as a freelancer.
Economical and ecologically sustainable waste management
Borngräber takes a three-pronged approach to recycling. First, he inspects the site to see what waste is produced and how it can be separated. “Transparent cling foil, for instance, is much easier to recycle than coloured foil and should be put in different containers immediately,” said Borngräber. Secondly, he manages waste transport within the company. More often than not, cleanly separated packaging and other materials are thrown together again later. And thirdly, he looks for the right disposal company. “I want to save costs through waste management and make the company ecologically sustainable,” said Borngräber.
Even if craftsmen, kiosk operators or large-scale entrepreneurs separate their waste conscientiously, penalties of EUR 10,000 can be charged, if the disposal is not documented. The Recyclingfüchse also take care of the documentation. However, they number only three at present. Borngräber works as a management consultant and interim manager for waste disposal companies for a few hours every week, but aims to make the start-up his sole profession.
No correcting mistakes later
“In future, we also want to work with chain stores and optimise disposal at many locations simultaneously,” he said. To this end, they have joined forces with start-ups offering digital cloud solutions. Borngräber urges companies to think about waste disposal: “If the auditor discovers an error in the annual accounts, it can be corrected in the accounts. If the waste is disposed of, then it’s gone.”