Waste management suddenly became sexy when China put its foot down in 2018, saying it would no longer take the world’s trash.

But the front page headlines of waste crises weren’t enough to give M8 Sustainable (ASX:M8S) a strong debut on the ASX today, with the stock flat at 20c.

The company raised $19.5m during its IPO, with shares priced at 20c.

M8 is a Western Australian recycling and waste management business which operates on a leased site in Maddington and provides management services to the Brockway waste compost and energy facility in Shenton Park.

But it also has plans to develop a landfill site in Gingin, a project it is pegging future growth on.

Managing director Tom Rudas, who founded AnaeCo (ASX:ANQ), says the assets the company is basing its growth on were bought in mid-2018, after which M8 undertook a range of remedial work and started operations in mid-2019.

A large revenue take in fiscal 2018 of $1.8m was due to a one-off commissioning fee M8 charged to get the Brockway plant running. Rudas says losses jumping from $1.7m to $7.2m were one-off accounting items as debt was converted to equity.

M8 said today the issue received support from institutional investors, particularly existing investor Thai-based renewable energy company SBANG, which owns a 35.68 per cent stake.

The company’s prospectus said SBANG was continuing to backstop its funding needs, providing a $4m loan in September, following a prior $20m loan and a $6m convertible note. Over a quarter of the funds raised went to paying down those loans, leaving the company debt free.

The board includes ex-Toxfree directors Bob McKinnon and Dick Allen.

“We are hitting the boards at the right time,” Rudas said. “WA waste generation continues to increase and there is a growing requirement to provide sustainable waste management solutions.

“We have created a business model and strategy that is perfectly suited to the growing demands of the WA waste management sector. The company is well-funded to deliver on the strategy and grow the business into a significant waste management operation.”