An Australian startup developing an “infinite recycling” plastic solution has raised $54 million in funding, with the goal of fighting waste across the world.
Samsara Eco’s tech involves breaking plastic down to its core molecules so that it can be reused over and over again, much more efficiently than current plastic recycling methods.
The company plans to build its first plastic recycling facility before the end of 2022. In 2023, it’s hoping to get started on large-scale production, and, from 2024, the startup wants to recycle 20,000 tonnes of plastic per year.
“Unlike other alternative recycling practices, our process is economical, with a low carbon footprint and allows for the effective recycling of challenging plastics including coloured, multi-layered or mixed plastics and textiles,” said Paul Riley, the CEO and founder of Samsara Eco.
“With our technology you never need to produce plastic from fossil fuels again.”
As for what Samsara Eco is developing, it’s described as “an enzymatic technology”. It depolymerises plastic waste, allowing for the reuse of monomers (particles that bond to polymers) in making food-grade plastics (similar to virgin plastics).
At its core, using enzymes and purification processes, Samsara Eco is hoping to make infinitely recyclable plastics. At the moment, the startup is focusing on PET plastics, mixed bale plastics, polyester, polyamide and polyurethane.
“It will take a real team effort to turn the tide on plastic pollution – and that’s exactly what we’re seeing with Samara and its investors,” said Australian National University vice-chancellor, Professor Brian Schmidt. ANU was one of the organisations that backed Samsara Eco and has been developing the technology in conjunction with the university.
“I’m proud ANU is a driving force behind Samsara, bringing to life technology that can have a real impact in the world.”
Recycling plastic in the way that Samsara Eco is trying to achieve sounds remarkable. Here’s to hoping it works on a large scale (our planet’s going to need it).
You can read more about Samsara Eco on its website.
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