Six Local Entrepreneurs Selected as Finalists in Inaugural Circular Economy Innovation Competition

Cans travel up the waste stream for recycling

The Western Placer Waste Management Authority is offering $20,000 in prize money for its competition, managed by the Carlsen Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at California State University, Sacramento.


ROSEVILLE, CALIF. – The Western Placer Waste Management Authority (WPWMA) and Carlsen Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship recently announced the six innovation concepts selected to compete in the final pitch of the inaugural Circular Economy Innovation Competition.


“We were blown away by the creativity demonstrated in these finalists,” said Eric Oddo, WPWMA Program Manager. “Additionally, their understanding and passion for supporting a local circular economy will be incredible for fostering future economic growth and environmental sustainability in our region.”


The public is invited to attend the final pitch competition at noon on Wednesday, April 19 at the Growth Factory’s Roseville Venture Lab (316 Vernon Street) in downtown Roseville. Those interested in attending are invited to RSVP using this link.


About the Six Finalists:

  • AgGen (Rosh Ho) – Davis-based company that transforms wastes using insects.
  • American Recycling Manufacturing Systems (ARMS) (Frederick Jason) – Rocklin-based solar-powered plastic recycling manufacturing system.
  • JAFCO Industries (Mark Casey) – Rocklin-based vermicasting (organics recycling using earthworms).
  • Ouros Industries (Jae Allen) – Davis-based innovation keeping clothing waste out of landfills.
  • Upcycle Food Waste (Stephen Weststeyn) – Northern California-based food waste recycling innovation using dairy cows.
  • WasteKnot (Morgan Murphey) – Sacramento-based innovation turning plastic waste from medical companies into new products, including fabrics.


The focus of this competition is to catalyze a group of early-stage ventures by elevating their startups and providing capacity to refine their concepts and messages through mentorships and training provided by the Carlsen Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, and ultimately the opportunity to compete for funding.


“The Carlsen Center has been an amazing partner to the WPWMA throughout this competition and we look forward to continuing this partnership for future iterations of our Circular Economy Innovation Competition,” said Oddo.


The Ellen MacArthur Foundation defines the World’s current economy as a ‘linear’ system, where materials are procured from the Earth to make products and then are eventually disposed. A circular economy vastly contrasts as it aims to stop waste from being produced in the first place. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has based their circular economy model off of three principles – to eliminate waste and pollution, to circulate products and materials (at their highest value), and to regenerate nature.


These ideals are central to the goals of the WPWMA’s recently certified Renewable Placer Waste Action Plan and will be enhanced by the WPWMA’s forthcoming $120 million facility improvement project.

Learn more about the Renewable Placer Waste Action Plan and the innovations coming to the Western Placer Waste Management Authority here.