ReCo Co-founders

Our Story

Meet Danling Xiao and Anett Petrovics, Co-founders of ReCo. Here’s a humble story about us.

ReCo Co-founders Danling Xiao and Anett Petrovics.

It’s A Love Story For The Planet

Hi! We are Danling and Anett. We’ve been together for almost a decade. We live with our 14-year-old pure white cat named Colour, in Rosebery NSW.

In retrospect, it’s been a wild ride. For us who have completely different personalities, grew up in different cultures, in a relationship, and working together, we crushed many times. We had to learn not only about the other person but ourselves. Our love and connection forced us to reflect, re-learn about life and heal.

As the years go by, we grow a sense of responsibility and empathy for the world. We know we have a mission to heal the world. Our love story is a journey of growth and transformation – and a love story for the planet.


Where It All Begins: An Accidental Global Success

In 2015, Danling quit her full-time job to focus on her wellbeing and mental health. As a meditation practice, Danling used fruit and vegetables to make small sculptures as she prepared dinner.

Within the first two months, the photos of these sculptures caught the global media, including Mashable and Huffpost. Danling’s Instagram account @mundane_matters went viral and received millions of views.

The attention made Danling realise her responsibility as a creative. With Anett’s support (and eating lots of veggie offcuts for dinner!), Danling continued to explore the meanings of her work, and carried on learning and sharing about sustainable living with tens and thousands of people on Instagram – every day for almost two years.

A orange with polar bear sitting on top. Image created by ReCo Co-founder, Danling Xiao, aka Mundane Matters.

Wasteland: Recycled Marine Debris Art Installation

Wasteland was inspired by the story of 12,000 tonnes of orange peels turning a lifeless site into a jungle in Costa Rica.

Between 2017 and 2019, we built the first art installation in Australia that turned marine debris into commercially produced products. Working with local companies and volunteers, we manufactured thousands of spheres using marine debris collected from the Great Barrier Reef, and raised them to the 25-metre tall ceiling at Sydney Customs House in Circular Quay.

The project was supported by the City of Sydney Art & About, and attracted more than 50,000 visitors to visit the installation and learn about marine pollution.

Wasteland project. A group of people installing Wasteland at Sydney Customs House.

Learning From Wasteland:

We Cannot Recycle Our Way To The Future

Wasteland project. Marine debris collected in a big canvas bag.

Not all marine debris can be recycled, and there is a lot of trash.

Marine debris is litter that ends up in oceans. In the batch we had for Wasteland, there was a large percentage of unrecyclable items, such as pieces that contain foreign matters, broken pieces, fishing net, degraded mixed materials.

Wasteland project. Hands showing shredded marine debris plastic.

Most recycling requires virgin plastic to maintain product quality.

Plastic degrades in oceans. To produce Wasteland, we added 40% of virgin plastic and a small orange batch in the mix of the marine debris, to make sure the product is durable and maintain stability in use.

Wasteland project. ReCo Co-founder Danling Xiao at a plastic manufacturing factory, with the factory owner.

The most efficient solution is simply to avoid plastic waste in the first place.

Why create the problem and then try to solve it? Cleaning up marine debris is not easy. Wasteland inspired us to search for a better solution to help reduce waste. It leads us to creating the ReCo refill delivery system.


ReCo Pilot: Working As A Couple

In late 2019, we started our first trial testing our refill delivery system with 20 friends living in Sydney’s Inner West. In 2020, during the pandemic, we launched ReCo, with Anett officially coming on board as a co-founder.

What we dreamt of as a meaningful collaboration quickly turned out to be the most challenging emotional rollercoaster. Not only we had to cope with the stress from COVID, but we also had to overcome the new challenge of being a couple putting all the bets in our own business and working together, seven days a week.

There were many make-or-break moments in our relationship – we misunderstood each other, we argued, we screamed, but in the end, we learned to let go of our ego, support each other, and be better collaborators and partners.

ReCo's user research. Co-founder Anett Petrovics gives products to testers to try.

Boomerang Labs:
Circular Economy Start-up Accelerator

In 2022, we were one of the nine start-ups accepted into Australia’s first circular economy start-up accelerator, Boomerang Labs. We had the opportunity to learn from the industry’s best, including Boomerang Labs’s co-founders Anna Minns and Jason Graham, mentors and partner, EY.

Through the Federal Government’s Boosting Female Founders initiative, we also had the opportunity to learn from Trena Blair (Founder, FD Global). This chapter has opened up many opportunities for us, and encouraged us to keep pursuing our dream.

ReCo Co-founders Danling Xiao and Anett Petrovics presenting to a group of audience.

Trekking Our Path: Never Give Up Our Mission

Innovation needs financial support to fuel growth. The reality for a circular economy start-up is that government funding only funds recycling initiatives, and most private funding in Australia requires us to be in a much more mature stage to avoid risks.

But we are determined to create our own reality. We continue to fund ReCo ourselves, by living frugally, juggling between clients’ projects through ReCo Digital, learning new skills, and building everything we can with support from our collaborators and customers.

We firmly believe what we do is one of the cleanest ways to tackle the waste crisis and carbon emissions (according to Ellen MacArthur Foundation). The many challenges we've been through over the years have only made us stronger, and more determined to pursue our mission – from a place of love, care and responsibility.

ReCo Co-founders Danling Xiao and Anett Petrovics standing in front of the ReCo products.

Now It's Only The Beginning

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Organisations Who Have Supported Us

We thank our customers, collaborators, mentors, clients, friends and family for their support.

ReCo acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land upon which we live and work, 
the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation and pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging.

ReCo acknowledges the traditional custodians of the land upon which we live and work, 
the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation and pay our respects to their elders past, present and emerging.

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