Business ideas

Austin Startups Showcase Sustainable Business Ideas

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The old bulletproof vests could equip the next generation of water bottles.

Driving the news: As part of a city effort to keep waste out of landfills, eight Austin startups will pitch their “circular” businesses — those that focus on reuse, zero waste, or sustainability — to a panel of judges and investors for a chance to win $5,000.

Why is this important: Circular businesses support more than $1 billion in local economic activity and more than 6,300 jobs, according to the Impact on Austin’s recycling and reuse economy 2020 report.

To note : The city is trying to achieve a zero waste goal by 2040, or reduce the amount of waste sent to landfills by 90%. The the diversion rate in 2021 was 42%.

Details: The winner of the competition will receive a cash prize and a chance to connect with potential investors. Here is an overview of the startups vying for the award:

  • Born Again Kreations will create insulated bottle holders with fabric from Austin Creative Reuse and body armor from Travis County.
  • Floral Sea is a conceptual fashion house and design studio focused on diversity and inclusivity in beauty, style and culture.
  • GROARTS plans to create a box for growing microgreens at home using plastic boxes and plastic inserts from the Austin Community College Bioscience Incubator and EQO.
  • Heron rents and delivers items you don’t use enough to buy, including carpet cleaners and air mattresses.
  • Not Nice turns aluminum cans into jewelry.
  • Reclaim.Repurpose.Reimagine creates packaging for luxury goods using fabric swatches from Austin Creative Reuse and body armor from Travis County.
  • Revision Goods plans to create homewares with fabric swatches from Austin Creative Reuse.
  • Use2 is an incubator, which aims to extend the life of material goods and sell them to entrepreneurs.

What they say : Jaclyn Heiser and Declan O’Reilly of GROARTS said the event would give their microgreen startup the opportunity to pitch in front of potential investors.

  • Founded in 2021, GROARTS, or Grow Agriculture Research and Technologies, reuses ACC’s “pipette tip boxes”. The boxes make up about 75% of the waste generated in the lab and are often sorted as medical waste and mistakenly end up in the landfill, according to Heiser.
  • “There are so many waste streams out there, and a lot of things that are thrown away by different industries are very valuable materials,” Heiser told Axios.

And after: The competition pitch event takes place tonight from 5:30-8 p.m. at the Cathedral. The event is free and Open to the public.


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