MILLIONS OF BUSINESSES are paying billions of dollars in rent on their garbage. They don’t think of it that way, of course, just as the fees they pay trash haulers to pick up their junk. But a significant portion of that money covers the cost of the landfill space itself. And what is a landfill if not a stinky, seething plot of real estate with garbage as the primary tenant?
It’s wasteful, sure. But what’s worse is the fact that this lucrative little arrangement gives the trash haulers who own those landfills very little incentive to recycle when those garbage heaps are practically minting money.
Nate Morris, CEO and co-founder of Rubicon Global, says his company is trying a different approach. It doesn’t own any landfills, or garbage trucks for that matter. Instead, its sole purpose is to help businesses cut their garbage costs and maximize the amount of waste being diverted from landfills. This strategy has earned Rubicon large contracts across the country with the likes of 7-Eleven and Wegman’s, but the company’s national footprint is set to double in the coming months. Today, Rubicon announced it has raised $30 million, which it will use to scale operations across the country and invest in new recycling technology research.
This vote of confidence from investors — including the likes of SalesForce founder and CEO Marc Benioff — is all the more noteworthy, considering what Rubicon is up against. Our nation’s trash is controlled by two multibillion dollar businesses, Waste Management and Republic Services. By any measure at all, Rubicon is tiny in comparison. But it’s gaining ground with businesses by appealing not only to their sense of environmental ethics, but to their bank accounts.