Impact project/investment of the year - pollution and waste management: PureCycle Technologies' Plastics Recycling Project
Last year, Ecofin, a London-based sustainable strategy investment company, invested $20 million in PureCycle Technologies via its Sustainable and Social Impact Term Fund.
The debt financing helped fund the construction of a first-of-its-kind plastics recycling facility in Ohio. Construction on the first plant at the site is expected to begin in the third quarter of 2021.
PureCycle Technologies' Plastics Recycling Project converts waste polypropylene from post‐consumer plastics into ultra‐pure recycled polypropylene (UPRP) for re-use.
Over seven billion pounds (lbs) of new polypropylene are produced in the US every year. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, less than 2% of polypropylene is recycled per year due to limitations of current recycling methods.
The PureCycle project seeks to overcome these current limitations by providing the plastics and consumer packaging market with a product that is nearly identical to new, virgin‐grade polypropylene. This is in contrast from previous recycling methods, which can result in an end‐product that is either grey or black and non‐colourable, has a foul‐odour, or is potentially contaminated with toxic impurities.
The project intends to have the capacity to process nearly 119 million lbs of land-fill diverted waste plastic annually into approximately 106.6 million lbs of UPRP. The UPRP is expected to be utilised by manufacturers to increase the recycled content of their polypropylene containers.