Anthropocene.Design, Arqlite win NYC curb-to-market challenge

Companies win $250,000 each in business plan competition to drive NYC toward a more circular economy.

Anthropocene.Design, Arqlite win NYC curb-to-market challenge.

Manufacturing entrepreneur Chris Graff has announced the winners of the New York City curb-to-market challenge (CTMC), a contest that sought the best idea and business plan to repurpose NYC’s recyclables and manufacture a product to sell in the local market.

Anthropocene.Design, a circular economy design consultancy, and Arqlite, an Argentina-based recycling company that has developed a large-scale solution for plastic film, were named co-winners of the competition. The companies will each receive a $250,000 investment.

“While we had many highly qualified applicants, Anthropocene.Design and Arqlite both really blew me out of the water with their approaches to reusing recyclable plastic waste,” says Graff, founder of the CTMC. “I am incredibly excited to help them grow their innovative manufacturing approaches right here in New York City. Arqlite’s artificial gravel has already proven successful in Argentina and can have a huge impact here in New York, while Anthropocene.Design may truly revolutionize the industry’s approach to solar rotational molding.”

Anthropocene.Design and Arqlite emerged from a group of six finalists, impressing the judging panel with their “innovative approaches to reusing underutilized recycled plastics,” according to a news release from CTMC announcing the winners. Both companies demonstrate “efficient, sustainable and environmentally aware” methods to implement the entire process of sourcing, converting and manufacturing NYC’s recyclables into a product to sell to the largest potential market.

“The NYC Curb-To-Market Challenge gave us the opportunity to coalesce sustainable manufacturing concepts we have been evolving for years,” says Barent Roth, founder of Anthropocene.Design. “We are thrilled to finally be able to turn these ideas into reality.”

The application period was open from Feb. 1 to June 1. Proposals from applicants in New York City; Los Angeles; Buenos Aires, Argentina; and Alicante, Spain, were accepted. A panel of judges, including government officials, industry experts and corporate CEOs, selected finalists from the initial application pool for in-person pitches. The finalists were then flown to New York City, where they presented to the judging panel.

Judges included Graff, Bridget Anderson, deputy commissioner for recycling and sustainability at New York City Sanitation Department, Steve Brenneman, founder of Aluminum Trailer Company, Tim Morrison, former CEO and chairman of AERT, and Gina Lee, founder of Circular CoLab and Upcyclers Network.

The companies will gain Graff as a new advisor, as well as access to a network of advisors and angel investors. Both companies are expected to begin their operations in New York City in the coming months.

“The NYC curb-to-market challenge provides Arqlite with the great opportunity to bring our long-term, sustainable solution for complex plastic [scrap] to New York City,” says Arqlite CEO Sebastian Sajoux. “Scaling our upcycling process in NYC will not only have a positive impact on the environment but will also generate new jobs and add value to the local economy.”

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