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article imageChatting with Matt Hollis: Owner and founder of Elytus Special

By Markos Papadatos     Mar 19, 2020 in Business
Elytus company owner and founder Matt Hollis chatted with Digital Journal. Elytus has created proprietary software that helps its clients manage all of their waste disposal contracts, recycling efforts, and environmental initiatives
The software, WINstream, audits the waste stream from a company to find inefficiencies and opportunities to become more sustainable. Elytus works with over 50 franchise clients to service over 10,000 locations, saving them time, resources, and most of all money.
When did you discover your passion for sustainability, particularly in waste management and how did you grow that into a company?
"My career in sustainability initially began from the idea of efficiency, rather than environmental preservation. Elytus started out by optimizing paper-based processes for waste management companies and we quickly realized that our software could be retooled into managing the complex waste streams of chain operators. Efficiency and sustainability work closely together, and today, we've helped save our clients more than $12 million in generating less waste and responsibly managing their environmental services."
What prompted you to create Elytus?
"I started my career working in the solid waste industry for a large regional hauler. The department that I worked in handled all of their sub-contract relationships and most of the processes were paper-based or manual. Elytus was created with my business partner, Alan Dillman, who has a Ph.D. in Management Information Systems when we saw an opportunity to build a refined, web-based software package to manage these processes. In 2011, we pivoted to offering these solutions to chain operators in all fifty states, Canada and Puerto Rico to assist them in managing their waste programs from procurement to payment."
How does Elytus uphold its mission to ‘Waste Nothing?’
"WINstream. The underlying mission of Elytus was to create efficiency to stop wasting the time and talent of people working for our clients. This eventually morphed into our mission to Waste Nothing which has now become the trademarked company motto. Our goal is to help our clients waste less time, money and resources as a result of managing their environmental services. Pairing WINstream, our web-based software, with our Professional Services saves our clients all of these precious resources upholding our Waste Nothing mission."
Even your office follows your "Waste Nothing" mission. Has it been challenging to follow this mission in your office space, and do you follow the same ideology for your personal life?
"Our mission to Waste Nothing extends to everything that we do. At our office headquarters, we recently completed a renovation featuring repurposed woods, windows, flooring, and various recycled metals. Additionally, we retrofit the entire building with LED lights and have electric charging stations for our cars. The project that we’re working on now is turning our headquarters into a zero-waste facility. We started that journey by purchasing reusable cups, plates, and silverware paired with a dishwasher to eliminate single-use items. Our team has also done a great job going paperless and now we’re focused on trying to incorporate composting into our operations. The most compelling thing about sustainability is that it's through incremental changes that you begin to see a real difference, and across our office space and my personal life, wasting nothing has been a real guiding principle for me."
Tell us a little bit about WINstreamWINstream and how it’s reframing sustainability for your partners.
"Through WINstream, our clients are able to manage their waste and recycling programs from procurement to payment in all fifty states, Canada and Puerto Rico. Ingesting all of their waste data and connecting it to other key business intelligence metrics such as sales allows our clients to make data-driven decisions to reduce the total amount of waste they generate. WINstream also helps them streamline manual management processes through automation saving them the precious time and talent of their employees. Lastly, WINstream connects our clients with thousands of service vendors who can compete for their business, enabling them to save money through competitive negotiation while also finding savings in a more efficient waste program."
What can households do to move toward more sustainable living?
"One of the biggest things, you can do at home is to stop using single-use items. While it may be convenient to discard used paper plates rather than washing your dishes, that convenience comes at a price. Imagine how much money your household could save by simply making the commitment to end the use of paper plates and disposable silverware. By not purchasing these items, to begin with, you'll reduce the temptation. Further, you'll be able to take pride in your waste reduction efforts, knowing fewer single-use plastics are going to the landfill."
Most of your partners are restaurants. Can you give us some stats about the industry and tell us how your technology has transformed it?
"One of the biggest opportunities for restaurants is food waste. According to ReFED, American consumers, businesses, and farms spend over $218 billion a year growing, processing, transporting, and disposing food that is never eaten. Using a three-tiered strategy of waste prevention, recovery, and recycling, Elytus helps restaurants understand their waste stream from top to bottom. By tracking what leaves a facility and matching it up to business metrics like sales, our platform empowers restaurants to make data-driven decisions towards implementing their waste reduction programs."
Where in our society is there the largest need for sustainability efforts in your opinion?
"There are numerous aspects to sustainability but for the purposes of this, we’ll focus on waste and recycling. Prevention is the single best way to make a sustainable impact for any organization. Not only does prevention avoid producing the waste, it typically results in less cost as well. However, it can be hard to identify what waste you're generating and why it’s being generated in the first place. With this data, people can focus on the low hanging fruit and work to begin preventing waste. A tactical example is when we replaced all of our single-use coffee cups in the office with mugs and put in a dishwasher. This prevented the waste from occurring in the first place and the mugs paid for themselves relatively quickly by eliminating the cost of the single-use cups."
Looking ahead, how do you see the waste management industry changing? Do you think sustainability tech, like WINstream will be a way of life for everyone in the near future?
"Society as a whole is making a movement towards more sustainability. We’re seeing a focus on prevention of waste, reduction of food waste, food rescue and food waste recycling. As we get better at these things we’re going to see less need for landfills and a more circular economy appear. Technology platforms will assist clients in seeing the value in their waste and turning it into the raw product for other businesses moving us towards a more circular economy. For example, the cardboard generated by a retail store can be sold as a commodity and then bought by a box manufacturer that recycles it into new packaging. This all occurs within the waste industry but is a more sustainable approach to handling the material."
More about matt hollis, Elytus, Owner, Founder
 
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