RTS, the ‘Robinhood of Garbage’ is helping cities track and recycle their waste


Discussions centered around logistics are often constructed in a way that perceptions about the industry would passively incline towards it being tied up with transporting consumable goods like food, fuel, or clothing. But logistics is much larger than that, encompassing verticals from nearly every societal functioning, including a section that people never think twice about, unless something goes wrong – the garbage disposal industry.

Albeit an industry shunned from public view, the garbage disposal industry is a vital cog to a city’s well-being, and relies heavily on effective logistics to haul garbage every day from the city interiors to secluded garbage dumps on its outskirts. Regardless of this, the industry has rather been deficient in its utilization of cutting-edge technology, which when used could work wonders in not just disposal, but also in waste recycling.  

Recycle Track Systems, abbreviated as RTS is a New York-based startup that is injecting technology into the archaic processes of waste collection and recycling, making it more transparent and accountable. “We get customers in regular occurring monthly service for all their waste and recycling needs. We want to put the effort in diverting waste into recycling centers, while giving our hauling partners the technology to track trash to the right facility,” said Adam Pasquale, the co-founder of RTS.

Pasquale has had over 20 years of experience in the waste recycling industry of New York City, enough to recognize the system was broken and that technology could give it a facelift. Pasquale along with Greg Lettieri, the CEO of RTS, founded the company within 30 days of envisioning the idea and applied for licenses to create the system. The company stirred considerable VC interest as it gained traction, with it ending up raising $11.7 million in its Series A last year.

“The need and frustration of my clients showed that the industry was ripe for disruption and so we put a white glove approach to the service. We are now seeing tremendous growth and are signing up for long-term agreements for regular occurring waste like at Citi Field in New York, where the Mets play,” said Pasquale. “We are not only tracking garbage to the right facility, but also reporting on it. We are monitoring on how they are doing and get quick access to near real-time data.”

RTS in itself does not own any trucks, and banks on its trusted hauling partners to help with transporting garbage to the recycling centers. The idea is to streamline logistics and also to provide a service that is customer-centric, with them having a decisive say in how recycling is done. RTS also is cautious in picking its hauling partners, working with only a select few in each market.

“It is not just about winning clients as you are only good as your last pickup, but about keeping these clients with us. We help our clients with projects, like with Citi Field where we helped them recycle 18,000 sq ft of plywood and 27 rolls of synthetic snow, which we later donated to local schools,” said Pasquale. “At universities where they are redoing their furniture, we try to donate as much as we can. We go above and beyond, and still can do on-demand, short notice type stuff whenever we can.”

RTS is now open in several markets including New York City, Chicago, Pennsylvania, Washington D.C., and New Jersey. “We could have acted as a traditional broker with camps throughout the country, but we prefer to do the real model of tracking the truck, letting customers order an on-demand pickup on their phone, or go to the portal to see how they are doing with recycling.”

In the recycling niche, the company is now gaining popularity as being the “Uber of Trash.” Pasquale, though fond of the phrase, felt that calling RTS the “Robinhood of Garbage” would be more fitting. “We take from the big companies that are not as focused and don’t have great control over their service, and offer technology to small and mid-tier companies that have better control over their service. We offer them technology that they may not have been able to afford otherwise,” he said.

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Vishnu Rajamanickam, Staff Writer

Vishnu writes editorial commentary on cutting-edge technology within the freight industry, profiles startups, and brings in perspective from industry frontrunners and thought leaders in the freight space. In his spare time, he writes neo-noir poetry, blogs about travel & living, and loves to debate about international politics. He hopes to settle down in a village and grow his own food at some point in time. But for now, he is happy to live with his wife in the middle of a German metropolitan.