Waste Not, Want Not
Sustainable Success Story RoadRunner Recycling Proves One Man’s Trash Is Another Man’s Treasure.
by Reese Randall
February 9, 2022
Graham Rihn’s Pittsburgh-based waste and recycle management company is poised to revolutionize the recycling industry. By concentrating on the mission to use technology for efficient and affordable recycling management across multiple industries, Rihn, Founder and CEO of RoadRunner Recycling uses software specifically designed to help businesses recycle more and save on their bottom line.
On the road to a career in business, Rihn, a Cornell University graduate majoring in finance started at a job in waste management in Washington, D.C.
“I got hooked and have been in the waste industry ever since,” says Rihn.
However, Rihn had a vision bigger than himself and he knew he had to run with it.
“Reflecting on the beginning of this, I recognized how big the waste and recycling industry in the U.S. was, but I identified there was much room for improvement.”
As Rihn delved deeper he realized there was a disconnect between where society was headed and how hard it was to recycle.
“It’s a passion of where we are now and a clear vision and application for smart recycling long term — this is what inspired me to start the company,” says Rihn.
The company name came to Rihn while working in Manhattan.
“If anyone is familiar with New York City, they know the curbs are lined with bags of waste and recyclables.”
In his future vision of high-volume recycling, Rihn envisioned road runners coursing through the streets collecting recyclables as soon as they would land on the curb.
“I could envision the road runners picking up the waste,” recalls Rihn.
Through safety, efficiency and environmentally friendly practices top-of-mind, services offered include cardboard, paper and mixed recycling to waste and compost services creating sustainability solutions for the future. Additionally, RoadRunner Go is a service Rihn piloted a few years ago to meet the area of the market that was on-demand. Consumers have a stream of household supplies such as batteries. The Go program is meant to be for consumers.
“We’ll take another run at it,” says Rihn.
When deciding on a location for the company headquarters, the Pittsburgh native decided on his hometown.
“We wanted to put the headquarters in a city that provided a great platform for business and culture,” says Rihn.
During the spring of 2017 he raised capital for the company comprising of investors such as Adams Capital Management, a venture capital firm in Sewickley and BeyondNetZero, the climate investing venture of leading growth equity firm General Atlantic.
With customers in 48 states (not including Alaska or Hawaii) and 20 U.S. offices, RoadRunner is on track to double their U.S. markets by 2024.
“We provide a sustainable waste platform to businesses in 11 industries where they can recycle more, save money and have a higher-quality services than previous alternatives,” explains Rihn. “As a rule of thumb our goal is to increase our client’s current recycling rate fivefold.”
Since its launch RoadRunner Recycling has recycled 220,000 tons of waste.
“My reaction to this is it feels amazing to have a mission-driven company that produces results that make it better for our earth. However, the builder in me says we haven’t touched the tip of the iceberg yet. Once anyone hits a level of success, they want to keep making an impact because it’s working. We’re here to solve the problem of recycling on a much bigger and broader basis,” says Rihn. “If this makes the world a better place, I will be a happy man.”
To learn more about RoadRunner Recycling, go to https://www.roadrunnerwm.com/contact-us/
RoadRunner Recycling has open positions for individuals that value transparency, caring personally for one another, humility, and growth. Whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned professional, there is training, support, and network to help you succeed in your career. Explore the careers page and go to https://www.roadrunnerwm.com/careers