German Web site turns trash to treasure

If you thought the Internet was full of rubbish, you might not be surprised to hear the latest. A German entrepreneur has set up a new online auction site for garbage. Clickwaste AG announced the site, clickwaste.de, on Thursday.

Producers of waste will be able to enter the type and amount of nasty stuff they need to get rid of, and waste removal companies can then respond with offers to do the dirty work. The system will bring more transparency to the rubbish industry, said Daniel Vuynovich, founder and chief executive officer. Clickwaste will charge a 3 percent commission on successful auctions.

"Clickwaste is a beautiful name, and it wasn't taken," said Vuynovich, who holds a 51 percent stake in the company.

"If you want to buy a car, you look on the Internet. The same goes for televisions, refrigerators -- almost all consumer goods .... Starting from today, what goes for John Average Consumer goes for the garbage industry too," said a statement announcing the launch.

Asked whether Clickwaste can handle waste electronic equipment or other IT industry trash, Vuynovich said, "Sure, but it's a B2B [business to business] site. We can't handle B2C [business to consumer] because waste is a municipal matter." The site is targeted at public waste disposal agencies and at garbage collection companies, he said.

Users can classify garbage and materials according to the entire spectrum of the European waste catalogue -- around 650 types of trash, said Vuynovich. In environmentally-conscious Germany, where businesses and households alike are expected to separate their waste painstakingly into five or six different recycling bins, the idea will come as no surprise.

The site is targeting the German market to begin with, but Vuynovich said he is already seeking partners to offer similar services in the U.K., France, and Italy, and would eventually like to crack the U.S. market as well.

Vuynovich said he's confident he'll do well in Germany, where, thanks in part to strict environmental regulations, the waste disposal industry is worth some 50 billion marks (US$22 billion) a year. "There's a lot of money in this business. It's a big, big, business."

Clickwaste AG, in Bottrop, Germany, can be reached at +49-2041-7063-0, or online at www.clickwaste.de.

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