For our new Start-Ups Initiative’s series, we present recyclehero, the first cargo-bike pickup service for recyclables, refundable and second-hand textiles. recyclehero was created in Hamburg, and was the start-up award winner at the ITS World Congress in Hamburg. On that occasion, recyclehero also won ERTICO’s “Best Market Innovation” award.

Recycling for a better future

recyclehero offers its service to businesses – mainly restaurants, shops, offices – and private households. The recycling service was launched in 2018 as an alternative and time-saving solution in urban areas, which allows customers to avoid using their cars to dispose of their recyclable items. Instead, recyclehero uses electrified cargo bikes and achieves various goals at the same time:  improving the urban recycling rate, reducing traffic emissions and increasing the visibility of commercially used cargo bikes within the city.

The company offers a fee-based pickup service for waste glass and waste paper and cost-free pickups for textiles and refundable bottles. For the sale of second hand textiles, recyclehero has built a strong partnership with a local second hand shop and a non-profit donation organization.

Last mile

Especially in dense urban areas, mobility is as relevant as ever. With their operating cargo bikes, the business faces the limited space with ease and makes serving customers right at their doorstep easier. Reaching customers with cargo bikes significantly reduces CO2 emissions: on average, recyclehero routes add up to 600 km per month. Recyclehero’s mission aims to close recycling loops more holistically and thereby save valuable resources by making the recycling process easier and more sustainable. At the same time, they want to create local access to valuable materials that are in high demand.

Going further

For the moment, the start-up operates solely in Hamburg. Next year, they plan to expand to other German cities, thus envisaging some team expansion in the next months.

The start-up has shared its vision for the near future and its growing plan with ERTICO: “Currently we are optimizing all processes such as route/resource planning and client management (CRM). Our new sales team is making a strong move in customer acquisition and loyalty. With our in-house developed software, we are taking the final steps to get ready for the rollout and to operate smoothly in other German cities. Via a franchise system recyclehero will provide a software solution for up to 80 European cities within the next five years. recyclehero is always keen on working with cooperation partners and potential investors in order to further develop our business model and to drive expansion.”

Connecting, innovating and growing with ERTICO

It is a pleasure for the ERTICO partnership to be able to collaborate with such an innovative and promising start-up. This represents a great opportunity to contribute to tackling climate change and promote alternative urban mobility solutions. It goes without saying that the mission of recyclehero reflects fully what ERTICO stands for: an innovative mobility and transport system that is smarter, greener, more efficient and attentive to the needs of European citizens.

ERTICO launched its Start-Ups Initiative in 2019 with the aim of attracting and working with new businesses that are active in the smart mobility sector. By providing tools to match start-ups with various partners and projects, ERTICO gives new businesses the chance to be involved in EU-funded projects, access leading-edge mobility solutions, improve their visibility, and position themselves more thoroughly in the market.

Ever since its launch, the Start-ups Initiative has based its activities on a “Connect, Innovate, Grow” approach. Following this path, ERTICO involves partner start-ups in its numerous innovation and deployment activities, which include research, pilot and deployment projects and platforms.

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A deep dive analysis report about the company is available for ERTICO members on demand. Please contact Mrs Lidia Buenavida Pena: