Spore's smart biowaste bins identify contamination and improve collection efficiency

AMS Startup Booster

Many Cities worldwide are responsible for waste collection. Often they are also required by law to separate biowaste at the source. How to identify contamination and efficiently collect waste? Spore designed a solution to tackle both: smart biowaste bins.

(Bio)waste collection in cities

In Amsterdam, as in many cities worldwide, it is common practice for citizens and businesses to separate waste in order to utilize the growing array of recycling options and work towards greener environmental solutions. To illustrate, Amsterdam residents are required to sort household waste by type (e.g. glass, paper, plastic packaging and drinks cartons, textiles) and put it into the correct designated containers for municipal organizations to collect.

In addition, increasingly (government) organizations around the world are required by law to separate biowaste at the source - such as in Europe, Australia, Singapore, California, and New York. This also accounts for more and more parts of the Amsterdam Metropolitan Area.

Hence, it's becoming common practice for residents to separate organic waste, such as food waste, and deposit this in a special bin. This may then be used by your municipality to create fresh compost. Alternatively, you can purchase your own compost bin.


These smart bins know their contents and reduce transportation costs by 40%

The bins developed by Spore include sensors that identify biowaste contamination and monitor capacity. This way, Cities can not only adhere to laws involved with separating biowaste at the source. These bins also allow municipalities to improve collection efficiency and reduce transportation costs by 40%. Furthermore, at the household level, Spore distributes composters to make composting at home easy.


Spore | AMS Institute

How Spore got ‘boosted’

Spore's entrepreneurs joined the AMS Startup Booster to accelerate their journey to product market fit. Before taking part in the Booster, Spore was focusing solely on a consumer segment. The team wanted to find a way to scale up their composters to the metropolitan level. Also, they expected to learn about how municipalities adopt urban innovations that help them to achieve their environmental and social goals.

As a result of taking part in the incubation program, Spore focused more on municipal composting solutions. The entrepreneurs learned that Cities will be required by law to separate biowaste at the source. Contamination is one of their biggest problems as this prevents biowaste from being composted or upcycled into compost products. Now, Spore shifted the business focus to exploring biowaste bin sensors that gather useful data on contamination and capacity.

What challenges did the team experience during the program? One of the key takeaways from this team is not to get too attached to your initial idea. And their favorite part of the program? The weeks leading up to the final pitch. That is when all their hard work came together and breakthrough ideas came forth.


For a period of 4 months, the AMS Startup Booster offered Spore access to the testing area of Marineterrein Amsterdam Living Lab, a Makerspace at AMS Institute, workshops and training, and connections with a large ecosystem of academics, city officials, private and public organizations.

With the help of the experts involved in the program, the entrepreneurs formulated a stronger value proposition and learned the importance of conducting small experiments and setting targets to reach overall company goals.


Source: AMS Startup Booster: Spore's smart biowaste bins identify contamination and improve collection efficiency

Afbeelding credits

Icon afbeelding: Spore | AMS Institute