These start-ups want to turn junk into cash

These start-ups want to turn junk into cash

But the business is as tough as the material it’s about. A look at all the start-ups in the scene that have already had to give up shows that. The scrap metal trading platform Metalxchange started a good six years ago and ran out of money just a few months later. Five years ago, recycler Alba co-founded the start-up Scrappel, which has since left scrap recycling. Instead, the sparse website promises that the software will soon help with waste paper logistics. And three years ago, the large Thyssenkrupp group, with its Materials Services division, launched its own start-up with great optimism, which was intended to digitize the recycled steel business. But it was not successful: “In this case, it was quickly clear that the project would not take off – there was not enough demand,” says a spokeswoman for Thyssenkrupp Materials Services.

Also read: Circular economy – “A kind of Ebay for industrial waste”

In principle, digitization is helpful when it comes to mobile detection of recyclables or documentation, according to the Scrap, E-Scrap and Vehicle Recycling Association (BSVE). The situation is different in retail: “Business in our industry is very much based on trust and personal contacts, which cannot be established via a purely online platform,” said a representative of the association. The business is currently dominated by scrap dealers, who are mainly active regionally. As a rule, companies with a large volume of scrap would only speak to a few dealers. “Often there is only a supposed overview of the market,” says Pannenbäcker, “a large part of the margin is based on information asymmetry.”


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