• DePoly secures $13.8 million seed funding to revolutionise plastic recycling
    Shredded PET samples
  • Mixed PET plastics before processing
  • DePoly co-founders

Waste Management

DePoly secures $13.8 million seed funding to revolutionise plastic recycling

Jun 29 2023

The world produces over 400 million tonnes of plastic annually, but less than 10% of it is recycled, leading to the majority ending up in landfills or incineration centres worldwide. In response to this pressing crisis, deep tech company DePoly has announced a successful seed funding round of CHF12.3 million to scale its groundbreaking recycling technology for plastics. The funding, led by BASF Venture Capital and Wingman Ventures, with the participation of prominent investors such as Beiersdorf and Infinity Recycling, will enable DePoly to address the long-standing challenge faced by the global consumer packaging and textile industry.

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is commonly found in everyday items like clothing, packaging, and outdoor equipment. Unfortunately, due to the high costs and complexities involved in sorting, separating, and cleaning these intricate plastic streams, only a small portion of so-called "perfect" plastics, which are clean and composed of a single material, are currently recycled. DePoly aims to revolutionise plastic waste management by utilising its universal chemical recycling process. This innovative technology converts all PET plastics and polyester textiles, originally sourced from fossil fuels, into their main raw chemical components. These components are then reintroduced into the industry to produce new plastic items of virgin-quality, creating a truly sustainable circular plastic economy.

DePoly's chemical recycling technology is globally unique in that it operates at room temperature and standard pressure, eliminating the need for pre-washing, pre-sorting, pre-melting, or separating other plastics or materials. This sets it apart from most existing technologies. Moreover, DePoly's technology can efficiently handle PET and polyester streams that are typically rejected by conventional recycling systems due to mixed plastics, mixed colors, and contaminated plastic waste streams, including fabrics and fibers. The technology is energy-efficient, quickly implementable, and customisable to meet specific customer requirements.

Samantha Anderson, CEO and co-founder of DePoly, expressed, "Plastics are an integral part of our lives, but they also present an existential dilemma. The plastic market is growing at an annual rate of 5% CAGR and is estimated to exceed $500 billion. To effectively address this issue, we need a simple, scalable solution that can handle challenging plastic waste streams. By recycling pre- and post-consumer as well as post-industrial plastics that would otherwise end up in incineration centers or landfills, DePoly aims to eliminate plastic waste and significantly reduce our carbon footprint by up to 65%. The raw materials produced through our process are on par with those derived from fossil fuels, allowing customers to choose both quality and sustainability."

Antonia Albert, Principal at Wingman Ventures, stated, "Plastic pollution is a public health crisis that requires urgent action. Plastic waste has permeated every corner of our planet, contaminating our food chain and endangering wildlife. DePoly is paving the way for a truly sustainable plastic economy. We are immensely proud to support DePoly from the outset as they tackle this global crisis and strive to clean our oceans and landfills of plastic waste. We welcome leading investors from the chemicals, recycling, climate, and deep tech sectors on board to build a global leader in sustainable plastics recycling."

DePoly has successfully built and currently operates a pilot plant with a capacity of processing 50 tonnes per year of complex PET and polyester plastic streams. This showcases the versatility and effectiveness of their technology across various industries, including post-consumer packaging, textiles, fashion, and post-industrial streams. The company is now focused on constructing a new showcase plant with a capacity of 500 tonnes per year to demonstrate the technology's commercial viability at a larger scale.

Markus Solibieda, Managing Director at BASF Venture Capital, commented, "To truly achieve a circular plastics economy, we must transform our business practices, and this necessitates collaboration among various stakeholders. DePoly's technology offers a promising solution to address the global plastic waste challenge while simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions associated with virgin plastics production. We are excited to support their mission of creating a more sustainable future."

Michael Becker, Vice President Global Packaging R&D at Beiersdorf, expressed confidence in DePoly's technology, stating, "We firmly believe in the potential of DePoly's technology as it bridges a critical gap in achieving circular PET usage while maintaining desired quality standards. We look forward to supporting DePoly in developing this new recycling solution for ourselves and the cosmetics industry."

Founded in 2020 in Sion, Switzerland, by Samantha Anderson (CEO), Bardiya Valizadeh (CTO), and Christopher Ireland (CSO), DePoly has harnessed its collective expertise in chemistry and engineering to develop this unique chemical recycling process that addresses the urgent issue of plastic pollution. The company launched its pilot plant for PET plastics in the same year. Today, with a team of 13 professionals boasting extensive industry experience, DePoly is prepared to scale its technology and become a global leader in plastic recycling, pushing the boundaries of innovation by establishing new plants worldwide and expanding its plastics portfolio.

Jan Willem Muller, Managing Partner at Infinity Recycling, affirmed his confidence in DePoly's ability to bring their groundbreaking polyester recycling innovation to market, saying, "Together with DePoly's partners, we are supporting a significant step forward in our joint mission to tackle the global plastic and clothing waste crisis, transforming the future of recycling."


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