Apto Solutions, a computer hardware company based in the USA, acts as the circular linchpin for reusing and recycling customers’ technology assets. By leading with innovative software solutions, Apto Solutions injects transparency into a legacy industry that, until now, has been primarily focused on hardware. The company has established a network of trusted partners that take IT equipment from in-production through sanitization, all the way to the recycling process. Apto Solutions recovers value from its customers’ unwanted assets by protecting them from costly data breaches, and also by reusing and reselling equipment. This all occurs in a single, integrated, circular process that prolongs the life of the customers’ technology.
Open Architecture Collaborative just started in Austin and they’re partnering with the Austin Materials Marketplace for an evening of lightning talks featuring Austin’s creative community and a collaborative discussion about the circular economy and reusing materials in our city.
- Daniel Kietzer from the Austin Materials Marketplace
- Tom Hatch from h+uo architects
- Natalie Betts from Austin Resource Recovery
- Audrey Vilain & Beau Frail from Open Architecture Austin
Date: Tuesday, November 15th / 6PM – 8PM
Location: Twin Oaks Branch Public Library / 1800 S 5th St, Austin, TX 78704 / Meeting Room #2
30 gallons/day of peat moss & coconut coir, and 75 lbs/day of organic corn & soy meal
10 large wood crates
Painted 2x2s of various lengths
Steel Arms from Theater Seats
Plastic Planet is an ambitious new exhibition created by artist and Austin Materials Marketplace participant Calder Kamin. Calder’s pieces, a menagerie of playful animals, are made entirely out of reclaimed plastic bags – a medium that draws attention to the human effect on our ecosystems.
Calder has invited the Austin Materials Marketplace team to create a pop-up Marketplace at her exhibit to encourage a discussion of how artists and others can creatively reuse “waste” materials that Austin businesses create. Join us and Calder on November 5th from 1:00 to 3:00pm at the Women & Their Work Gallery to explore opportunities to give these materials a second life.
Date and Time: Saturday, November 5, 2016; 1:00pm to 3:00pm
Address: 1710 Lavaca St, Austin, TX 78701
SXSWEco is just around the corner, taking place October 10-12 at the Austin Convention Center. Last year, SpinFish Inc helped SXSWEco divert 1,275lbs of left-over conference materials from the landfill to local organizations – a diversion rate of 99% – and are hoping to see similar success with this year’s event.
If you’re interested in volunteering with the SpinFish materials management team, you can check out this link. You can also keep your eye out for materials from the conference being uploaded to the Austin Materials Marketplace on October 11th and October 12th. Anticipated materials include:
- Foamcore – a lightweight and easy-to-cut material that would be great for art and science projects
- Canvas Banners – various banners that could be used as curtains, bags, wallets, and more
- Flooring Squares – carpet and vinyl flooring tiles
- Promotional Items – magazines, handouts, and brochures that can be used as classroom supplies, in art projects, as packaging material, and as wrapping paper (just make sure you’re recycling it when you’re finished!)
- Furniture – various tables, chairs, etc.
- Wood Pallets – an object with endless uses, including planters, displays, furniture, crates, and indoor and outdoor structures
This event on September 29th, 4:30 to 6:30pm, is an open question and answer session regarding the upcoming transition to a new network-supported model to provide a sustainable funding source for the Austin Materials Marketplace. We’ll have an open, free-form discussion regarding program changes – feel free to swing by anytime within our two-hour window with any questions.
Date: September 29, 2016
Time: 4:30 to 6:30pm
Twin Oaks Branch, Austin Public Library
Meeting Room #1
1800 S 5th St, Austin, TX 78704
Austin Materials Marketplace implementing transaction and network subscription fees starting in October 2016 to provide a long-term, sustainable funding source for the program
The Austin Materials Marketplace was launched to the public in August 2014 to bring together businesses of all sizes and entrepreneurs in the City of Austin and Travis County to create closed-loop systems in which one company’s waste is another company’s raw material. The program has been fully-funded by Austin Resource Recovery for the first two contract years, August 2014 to August 2016, with the intention to gradually transition to a network-supported, self-funding business model starting in Year 3 of the program – details of which are outlined below. Please read on to learn more about:
- Important upgrades to the Materials Marketplace platform
- Transaction fees
- Network subscription fees
- Additional program adjustments
- And key next steps
We’ve accomplished a lot together since the launch of the program in August 2014. Our network has grown to over 216 local businesses and organizations; and we’ve facilitated 138 transactions as of September 2016, altogether:
- diverting 209 tons or 26,000 cu feet of materials to a higher and better use,
- avoiding 362 MT CO2E in estimated emissions, the equivalent of taking 76 passenger vehicles off the road for a year,
- and saving and creating over $158,000 in value for program participants.
We’ve helped inspire, launch and grow new businesses; we’ve connected local non-profits to new resources in the Austin area; and we’ve hosted numerous events around the city to make connections between business sectors that otherwise would have never been in the same room. This Austin-grown platform has also received national and international recognition, including winning The Circulars 2016 Digital Disruptor Award from the World Economic Forum, Project of the Year from Environmental Leader, and a Gold Excellence in Economic Development Award from the International Economic Development Council.
And we’re just getting started. As more organizations join our network, our ability to identify and facilitate transactions for your hard-to-recycle materials only increases. We’ll also be able to leverage our growing network to work on specific big-picture, systemic solutions in Austin’s reuse and recycling ecosystem – construction & demolition materials and food waste, for example.
As of September 2016, we can confidently say that we’ve reached the necessary critical mass for the Austin Materials Marketplace to be both valuable to you as a participant, but also to begin the gradual transition to a network-supported model that allows the program to operate and flourish on its own merit, independent of City of Austin funding. As we move towards this new model, we want to be as transparent and inclusive with our program participants as possible.
Upgrades to the Materials Marketplace Platform
We’ve learned a lot about what works, and what doesn’t, using the current Materials Marketplace software platform and listening to your feedback. We’re using this experience to do a complete, ground-up redesign of the Materials Marketplace software platform, adding capabilities to:
- efficiently and easily share the right information about the materials you have available,
- see what others in the program are looking for and help them make connections,
- see what’s close to you with a new map view,
- start conversations in the marketplace and bring other collaborators or service providers into the conversation if needed,
- use machine learning to intelligently make recommendations and show relevant information (think Netflix, but for materials, not movies), and
- let you more efficiently and easily manage materials and program activities – whether it’s just you or multiple people within your organization.
Expect a beta-version of the new Materials Marketplace to be available in November 2016.
The new Materials Marketplace software platform will also enable us to collect transaction fees, a small percentage of the savings or net value creation for transactions facilitated by the program. Transaction fees are the foundation of the long-term sustainability model for the Materials Marketplace – in Austin and other regions around the world. Our intention is to grow the network and increase the number of transactions to a large enough scale to be able to phase out other funding sources completely in the coming years.
By calculating the transaction fee against the savings or net value created, we’re positioning this funding mechanism to have as little impact on operational budgets or profit margins as possible. We don’t want to reduce program value to you, just capture a little to keep our lights on.
We’re committed to being open and transparent in communicating our calculations for savings and net value creation to participants, and will have an open process for participants to report and help inform our process included in the transaction workflow.
Until we reach a volume of transactions large enough to sustain the program, starting in mid-October 2016 we’ll begin rolling out an affordable and scaleable network subscription to be in the Austin Materials Marketplace. For participants within the City of Austin or Travis County, subscription fees will be as follows, with discounts for yearly subscriptions:
Your network subscription will help sustain and expand the values of program participation you’re already accustomed to: access to the Materials Marketplace platform (and the new & improved platform coming later this year), match recommendations and facilitation assistance from our project team, educational opportunities, networking and cross-industry collaboration, and publicity from the program.
Billing for network subscription fees will be managed online through our project website, or we can work with you directly if you have different payment or invoicing requirements.
In addition to the changes highlighted above, we’ll also be expanding the scope of the program to include promotion for products and services within the reuse, remanufacturing and recycling space; an expansion of the geographic scope of the project to include select entities outside of the City of Austin and Travis County if and when the environmental impact and economic equation makes sense; and new in-depth programming around particularly challenging and impactful resource types.
Over the coming weeks, we’ll be reaching out to you one-on-one to hear your thoughts and feedback, explain these program changes in more detail if needed, and answer any questions.
We’ve also scheduled an in-person Q&A session on September 29th, 4:30 to 6:30pm where we can have an open dialogue about these changes and respond to your questions.
Year 3 Adjustments: Q&A Session
Date: September 29, 2016
Time: 4:30 to 6:30pm
Twin Oaks Branch, Austin Public Library
Meeting Room #1
1800 S 5th St, Austin, TX 78704
We look forward to our continued work together. As we transition to a network-supported program, your continued participation helps support a zero-waste, circular and sustainable vision for Austin’s future. Please contact me – Daniel Kietzer, Program Manager – via email at email@example.com or phone at 512.964.5401 if you have any immediate questions.
Johnson’s Backyard Garden just completed a transaction to provide 3,000 ft of drip irrigation tape to our youngest (and arguably coolest) Austin Materials Marketplace participant, Ian’s Giving Garden.
Ian McKenna, 11, has started multiple “giving gardens” around town to grow and donate food to children and families in need in the Austin area. His wonderful efforts are fueled in part by grants from the City of Austin Sustainability Office, Katie’s Krops, the Sodexo Foundation, and others; and we hope to connect Ian to more and more materials resources as his work grows and expands.
Great work, Ian!
The Austin Materials Marketplace’s latest success story comes from Strange Land Brewery and Bedford Farm. The two businesses have started an ongoing relationship to reuse Strange Land Brewery’s spent grain as animal feed at Bedform Farm, diverting a significant amount of organic material from landfill each month.
This is one of the oldest case studies in the book. All around the world, breweries have their spent grain picked up in bulk by farmers, usually at little or no cost. This is a symbiotic exchange because sending spent grain to landfills is expensive, and farmers rely on this low-cost but energy-packed food to keep their meat and dairy prices low. This is also an ancient tradition, with fossil evidence suggesting that as far back as the Neolithic period (2000 B.C.), brewery by-products were being used to feed domesticated animals.
The US EPA also recommends organics recovery through feeding animals, prioritized just below source reduction and feeding people:
“Feeding Animals is the third tier of EPA’s Food Recovery Hierarchy. Farmers have been doing this for centuries. With proper and safe handling, anyone can donate food scraps to animals. Food scraps for animals can save farmers and companies money. It is often cheaper to feed animals food scraps rather than having them hauled to a landfill. Companies can also donate extra food to zoos or producers that make animal or pet food. There are many opportunities to feed animals, help the environment and reduce costs.”
The built environment, including buildings and the spaces in and around them, is one of the most active sectors within Austin city limits. Our city is buzzing with builders, designers, building owners & tenants, and folks creating and maintaining outdoor spaces. We thought it’d be a good idea to get everyone together to talk materials and see what new matches we can uncover.
Think of this event as speed-dating for materials, with the goal of finding matches for your materials available and/or materials needs. We’ll have a handful of tables set up around the room, organized around key business functions and their associated materials, outlined below.
Materials examples: wood, concrete, metal.
Create Indoor & Outdoor Spaces – Residential
Materials examples: historic wood, repurposed art, indoor plants.
Make Spaces Functional
Materials examples: recycling bins, fixtures.
Materials examples: tables, chairs, desks, sofas.
Create Indoor & Outdoor Spaces – Commercial
Materials examples: landscaping, outdoor furniture.
During the event, we ask that you gather around stations where you have relevant materials outputs and/or materials inputs, and perhaps bounce from station to station throughout the morning if you have additional connections. Each station will be equipped with a worksheet to capture information on materials available on one side, materials needed on the other, and direct connections in the space in between. Our project team will be stationed around the room as well to help facilitate the conversation.
Don’t work in buildings space, but would still like to be involved? That’s ok! This event is still open to all of our program participants and we encourage anyone interested to join us. RSVP below.
Date: August 24, 2016; 9:00am to 11:00am. Light breakfast and coffee provided.
Location: Mission Capital; 8303 N. MoPac Expwy, Suite A201 Austin, TX 78759
Event hosted in collaboration with the Social Design Alliance
Social Design Alliance (SDA) is a local non-profit with a mission of generating positive social impact in the community through design and creative re-use. SDA believes in the transformative power of design, the significant need for reducing furniture waste, and the impact that both of these can have on the community and that the community can have on them. The merging of design, re-use and community is our passion, and our desire is to be an alliance between Austin Interior Design Industry Professionals and the general community, to work together toward a common goal of creating inspiring and functional spaces that meet community needs and work towards solving recycling and re-use issues at the same time. Additional information is available on the SDA website www.socialdesignalliance.org or email Co-Founder, Ashley Byers firstname.lastname@example.org.