Dive Brief:

  • Recycle Track Systems (RTS), a New York-based service provider known for its technology platform, has won its first-ever municipal waste collection contract. Valued at $3.75 million, the deal with La Porte, Indiana runs for four years with the option of a three-year extension.
  • This contract was previously held by Waste Management. Now, RTS will facilitate service to 7,500 residential and government locations through local company LakeShore Recycling & Disposal. Every truck will be outfitted with the RTS technology platform, which allows residents to manage service and helps the city optimize routing.
  • “We’re thrilled to start this partnership with the City of La Porte which is joining the smart cities movement to become more efficient in managing waste,” said Adam Pasquale, co-founder and COO, in a statement. “Waste collection is an essential city service and we’re excited to introduce our technology solutions to help improve services for residents and support the city’s sustainability goals for the future.

Dive Insight:

Founded by Pasquale and CEO Greg Lettieri in 2015, the company has followed an asset-light model that puts the focus on its proprietary technology platform. RTS got its start partnering with local haulers to facilitate service for larger commercial customers in New York by offering additional benefits such as on-site consulting, data reports and creative solutions for recycling material.

The company’s status as a certified B-Corp, as well as a growing list of contracts with large East Coast sporting venues, has helped raise its profile in recent years. In addition to its home base in New York, RTS now has offices in the Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. markets.

This move has been described to Waste Dive as the first of multiple municipal contracts that RTS is pursuing, with the goal of doing far more than just solid waste collection. The Solid Waste District of La Porte County still handles recycling collection in this case, but as part of its contract RTS is also working to educate residents on recycling, reuse and composting. Demonstrating the ability for its technology to function cost-competitively in a municipal scenario will also be a key component.

“The city of La Porte is committed to exploring new technologies in order to provide optimal services for our citizens while being vigilant with taxpayers’ money,” said La Porte Mayor Mark Krentz in a statement. “Working with a forward-thinking partner, such as Recycle Track Systems, will enhance our ability to make data-driven decisions and run utilities more effectively for our community.”

The tactic of bringing a technology platform first used in commercial applications to the residential market parallels a growing business line for competitor Rubicon Global. While the Atlanta-based company hasn’t announced any municipal collection contracts — yet — the company is actively expanding its “smart cities” segment by locking in subscription deals for local governments to utilize the technology platform in their fleets.

This growing interest in fleet-based technology that enables more interaction with customers — businesses, residents and municipalities alike — is catching on throughout the industry. While some of the largest companies have a reputation for being slow to adopt new systems, Waste Management is one of multiple industry majors that has expressed intentions to invest more heavily in this space as a way to stay current. As all involved continue in that direction, it may become more common to see companies such as RTS participate in local bidding processes and put those claims to the test.

– Cole Rosengran | WasteDive