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Uber-style waste app moves into Europe

The US creator of an Uber-style mobile phone app for waste management is set to expand its technology into Europe in a deal with Suez.

Rubicon Global manages a network of independent companies which bid for waste from business customers. Its software finds places to recycle, resell and transport the materials.

It says the deal with Suez will “accelerate the development and deployment of Rubicon’s proprietary cloud‐based hauler management platform, customer portal and mobile apps” on the US and European markets.

Suez said it will use Rubicon’s technology in its fleet of vehicles to help “modernise and transform” its collection business.

Uber’s original chief technological officer, Oscar Salazar, helped to launch the US app.

In Europe, Suez aims to accelerate the digital transformation of its recycling division by improving its customer portal and creating digital platforms catered to customers that are geographically dispersed.

MRW understands the company will trial a version of the app in France first, with the UK a possibility if it is successful.

Smaller waste firms would be able to offer their services through the app to businesses using it.

Jean‐Marc Boursier, group senior executive vice-president of Suez’s recycling division, said: “Suez is developing its offer to propose ’disruptive models’ and solutions in response to its customers’ needs and in favour of the circular economy.

“We are proud that Rubicon Global has become one of our expert partners. Together, we will add a new dimension to waste management both sides of the Atlantic, that is ever more digital and efficient, for a sustainable protection of resources.”

Rubicon founder and chief executive Nate Morris (pictured) said: “This is a new day for the global waste and recycling industry and an extraordinary opportunity to change the world.

“With their international reach, incredible longevity as a company, and commitment to innovation and a sustainable future, Suez is a perfect strategic partner for Rubicon and I am particularly happy to have Jean‐Marc as a new board member of the company.”

At RWM in September 2015, David Palmer-Jones, chief executive of Suez’s UK subsidiary, said Rubicon’s technology was a “wake-up call” for the industry, which should take note of Rubicon’s customer service.

“We offer the services that they can offer. They are only piecing together using the infrastructure we invest in to offer those solutions,” he said. “I think perhaps they steal a march occasionally on the more traditional waste industry on customer relations. But it is for us to show the customer that we can perform.”

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