Wednesday, May 17, 2023

City of Austin Announces Winners of Annual Competition Celebrating Innovative Reuse Solutions


Winners develop business plan through an accelerator program
AUSTIN, TX – The City of Austin, in partnership with Austin Young Chamber, announced the winners of the annual [RE]Verse Pitch Competition. The program aims to reduce waste in Austin through innovation and design. The winners, known as Innovation Fellows, developed circular business ideas using byproduct materials from other businesses. The Innovation Fellows will receive prizes valued up to $4,800. The prize package includes a stipend for completing the three-part Innovation Accelerator program.

This year's Innovation Fellows are:

PalletAble by Kelley Rytlewski 
PalletAble plans to use pallets from Builders FirstSource to create affordable, easy-to-assemble outdoor furniture kits.

Pyrocycling by Kris Schludermann and R.D. Childers
Pyrocycling plans to use carbon filter pads from Deep Eddy Vodka to harvest agricultural minerals directly from treated municipal sewage.

During the accelerator, Fellows will receive guidance, training and community support to work on their idea. This year's accelerator partners are:
  • The University of Texas at Austin's (UT) NSF I-Corps program
  • Texas State University's I-Corps: Faculty Innovation Accelerator Program
  • Barrett Pearce, Program Administrator, UT Austin Herb Kelleher Entrepreneurship Center
  • SOS Leadership
At the end of the accelerator, teams will pitch their idea to a cohort of investors at the City's Circular Austin Showcase on August 29, 2023. There will also be spots available for existing or start-up businesses to pitch in the Circular Showcase.

Applications for the Circular Austin Showcase are open now through June 2. Visit to apply!

This year's [RE]Verse Pitch Competition started on March 1 at the virtual opening pitch event. Over six weeks, competitors attended virtual workshops and worked with program mentors before submitting their business ideas to the competition. A panel of judges reviewed submissions and selected Fellows based on equal scoring criteria.

The [RE]Verse Pitch Competition is a collaboration between the City of Austin and Austin Young Chamber, with support from community partners. Learn more at
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About the Circular Economy Program
The City of Austin Circular Economy Program’s mission is to attract, retain, and grow businesses, non-profits, and entrepreneurs in the zero waste industry in order to create well-paying local jobs, attract investment, and support the necessary infrastructure for a resilient circular economy in Central Texas. The program is a partnership between Austin Resource Recovery and the Economic Development Department.
About Austin Resource Recovery   
Austin Resource Recovery (ARR) is a department of the City of Austin. We provide essential services that protect people and our planet. We collect recycling, composting, trash, large brush, bulk items and dead animals. We also sweep the streets, recycle and safely dispose of household hazardous waste, and provide community outreach and education. ARR is driving the global transformation of traditional waste management to sustainable resource recovery. Learn more at