According to the World Bank, Indonesia produces 4.8 million tons of plastic waste every year, i.e. “badly managed‘ – meaning it will not be collected, dumped in landfills or leaked from improperly managed landfills. octopus wants to reduce that number with a platform that makes it easier to collect waste products from consumers and recycle them into raw materials that brands can reuse. The Jakarta-based startup announced today that it has raised an oversubscribed $5 million round led by Openspace and SOSV.
Octopus was founded last year by Mohammad Ichsan, Hamish Daud, Niko Adi Nugroho, Rizki Mardian and Dimas Ario, who have known each other for over a decade.
After its recent launch in Jakarta, it will use its new funds for “aggressive expansion,” including five sorting plants and 1,700 checkpoints in four cities: Jakarta, Bandung, Bali and Makassar, aiming to handle 380 tons of plastic waste on electronic devices, every month.
Ichsan said one reason Octopus was founded was because he returned to his parents’ house in Makassar for a vacation and found that a landfill 30 kilometers away was giving off an unbearable stench, especially considering he had a newborn daughter .
“I was wondering what kind of world she’s going to live in,” he told TechCrunch. “Apparently this problem is not occurring in specific cities but also in other cities in Southeast Asia, so I started to learn more about the business by doing manual waste trading and trying to solve the problem step by step, starting with reducing recyclable waste going to landfill through manual waste trading.”
Around this time, Ischan met co-founder Daud, who had the same concerns and had been researching marine debris.
Octopus also points out the Indonesian government’s regulations on waste collection 3R, or “reuse, reduce and recycle” which aims to reduce the amount of plastic waste in the ocean by 70%. The government has reinforced these goals through initiatives such as waste banks, enforcing recycling targets for brands and manufacturers, and a consumer plastic bag fee.
According to Octopus, by 2025 the Indonesian government will have spent $5.1 billion to create a circular economy for more brands. It claims to be “the first platform to offer an end-to-end logistics platform for the disposal of recyclable waste”.
The company says it’s grown by over 400% in the last six months, with users at both ends of the supply chain. This includes 150,000 monthly users and more than 60,000 pelestari, or independent waste collectors. It is claimed that more than 12,000 Pelestari have been able to open a bank account since joining Octopus. At the other end of the supply chain, Octopus serves more than 20 brands including global FMCG companies that use Octopus to meet their ESG compliance. One of their goals is to reach 100,000 Pelestari by 2024.
Octopus offers two main types of services, Ischan said. The first is selling post-consumer materials to the recycling industry and the second is data collection reporting for FMCG brands. For example, it helps Softex Indonesia collect used diapers from consumers by properly handling the standard operating procedures of Pelestari working as gig workers.
For Pelestari who don’t own a cellphone to access Octopus’ app, Ischan says the company is working with social services to provide phones as part of local city government programs to solve unemployment in their areas.
In a prepared statement, Openspace founding partner Shane Chesson said: “Octopus is at the forefront of harnessing technology to fundamentally transform the scale of the circular economy in Indonesia. Participants at all stages of this supply chain are incentivized to make this happen and most importantly, for environmental reasons, we need to get this right.”
Octopus keeps stuff out of Indonesia’s crowded landfills – TechCrunch Source link Octopus keeps stuff out of Indonesia’s crowded landfills – TechCrunch