We talked to Giorgio Baracchi, founder of RecycleSmart, about smart recycling methods, and this is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Giorgio Baracchi: We’re doing well! Thank you so much. Times have been very unpredictable, but thankfully we’re all healthy and well.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded RecycleSmart.
Giorgio Baracchi: Even when I was a child, I used to love taking the glass milk bottles back to the shop to have them reused! Initially, RecycleSmart was developed as an educational tool to help people learn more about recycling, reducing, and reusing, but after being in the industry for a while, my business partner Marco Prayer and I recognized that there was a gap in the market for a convenient, on-demand recycling solution for tricky recyclables, and THAT’s when our real journey began.
How does RecycleSmart innovate?
Giorgio Baracchi: RecycleSmart harnesses modern technology to simplify the recycling process as much as possible for the average consumer. The idea is that you don’t actually need to be an overzealous environmentalist to be able to recycle properly. All you have to do is book a Power Pickup for any of your tricky items, and we’ll come to your house and recycle it for you. It’s as easy as ordering an Uber!
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Giorgio Baracchi: We had to make a few changes, of course. Like so many other businesses, we began working remotely and conducting our meetings online. We made sure that we were equipped with the right online platforms to keep all our business functions aligned and maintain synergy. We also had to make sure that our Pickups could be conducted in a way that required no physical contact between our drivers and customers. Our customers were advised to leave their bags outside, in a safe place, where the drivers could collect them, and drive off with no interaction needed.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Giorgio Baracchi: To be honest, although the early days of COVID were extremely worrying, we were able to turn the circumstances into an opportunity. Given that it was recommended to stay home during the pandemic, we reinforced the idea that people could be home and still have their recyclables collected in a safe, contactless way and recycled correctly. So we learned to adapt to the situation, and eventually, the number of Power Pickups actually rose during the lockdown!
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Giorgio Baracchi: We use Zoom for our meetings, Trello to organize and prioritize our activities, and Slack to communicate during business hours!
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Giorgio Baracchi: No one at the moment is offering an on-demand recycling service that I know of. There are definitely apps out there that are being designed to educate citizens on the topic of waste, which I think is amazing, but we’ve moved beyond that now and have been the only ones offering a Pickup service.
Your final thoughts?
Giorgio Baracchi: Overall, I’m really proud of where RecycleSmart has come over the years, we still have a long way to go, but we’re definitely on the right track! Thank you for your time and for reaching out for this interview.
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