5 Top Emerging Plastic Recycling Startups

We analyzed 99 plastic recycling startups. ReNew ELP, Loop Industries, Brightmark Energy, PURA Loop & BioCellection develop 5 top solutions to watch out for. Learn more in our Global Startup Heat Map!

Our Innovation Analysts recently looked into emerging technologies and up-and-coming startups working on solutions for the materials sector. As there is a large number of startups working on a wide variety of solutions, we want to share our insights with you. This time, we are taking a look at 5 promising plastic recycling startups.

Heat Map: 5 Top Plastic Recycling Startups

For our 5 top picks, we used a data-driven startup scouting approach to identify the most relevant solutions globally. The Global Startup Heat Map below highlights 5 interesting examples out of 99 relevant solutions. Depending on your specific needs, your top picks might look entirely different.


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ReNew ELP – Plastic Waste To Chemicals & Oil

The rapid production of plastics in the world results in a disproportional increase in plastic waste. This waste is present practically everywhere in our environment. Due to the thousands of years that it takes for plastic to decompose, it causes harmful effects on the environment today. As a result, startups are rushing to develop solutions to recycle plastic waste and create useful byproducts.

British startup ReNew ELP provides a platform for converting end-of-life plastics into useful high-grade chemicals and oils. The startup’s process to convert plastic waste involves the use of a patented Catalytic Hydrothermal Reactor, which uses water at supercritical temperatures, to create valuable by-products.

Loop Industries – Dimethyl Terephthalate (DMT) & Monoethylene Glycol (MEG) Separation

PET-based plastic waste is one of the biggest environmental challenges today. According to data collected by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there are an estimated 14 million tonnes of PET-based plastic as solid waste. Meanwhile, the increasing rate of plastic waste is damaging our ecosystem. As a result, many startups develop methods to convert solid plastic waste into reusable products.

Canadian startup Loop Industries develops a patented PET-based plastic depolymerization process, which separates DMT and MEG from the plastic waste. These by-products are then used to make new plastic packaging that leads to a reduction in plastic pollution in the ecosystem. Additionally, this process requires a lower amount of heat and pressure when compared to conventional conversion methods.

Brightmark Energy – Plastic Waste To Fuel

Startups are developing methods to convert waste plastic into new reusable plastic and other materials. However, these methods limit the types of plastic waste to convert and, thus, creates an additional task of sorting waste. In order to include a broader range of recycling plastic waste types, startups develop technologies to convert solid plastic waste into fuel. This consequently eliminates the need for sorting as it focuses on processing a variety of plastic types together.

The US-based startup Brightmark Energy specializes in converting organic and inorganic waste into renewable resources. The startup’s plastic conversion process recycles all types of plastic into commercial-grade ultra-low sulfur diesel, naphtha (gasoline), and wax. This process is designed to be easily scalable as well as to help cities to significantly reduce their plastic pollution.

PURA Loop – Sludge Transformation

Not all plastic garbage resides in the form of solids, such as plastic bottles, cartons, and boxes. Waste generated by many industries, and their processes, stay in the form of sludge. Moreover, the liquid nature of this waste makes it difficult to process with conventional technologies. Moreover, plastics mixed in sludge are not suitable for sorting or separation by any traditional means. This is where emerging companies develop novel technologies to process sludge and separate the useful by-products.

Hong Kong-based startup PURA Loop builds solutions for the treatment and recovery of non-recyclable hazardous industrial sludge and mixed plastics. The company’s technology treats the waste at a molecular level through microwave-enhanced catalytic pyrolysis technology. The entire process requires no pre-processing or sorting of waste and results in various compounds as end products that are later utilized across multiple applications.

BioCellection – Chemical Decomposition

Plastic waste management is a challenge and building the capacity to handle plastic waste is an even bigger challenge. At this time, plastic waste processing solutions require complex machinery and high temperatures or pressures. This acts as a prohibitive barrier for market entry. For this reason, startups are creating solutions using chemicals to break the bonds between plastic molecules without additional equipment or other external factors.

The US-based startup BioCellection works on a chemical decomposition process that breaks polymer chains in plastics. Various reaction combinations separate the molecules to form acid compounds for harvesting into products. The primary application for the by-products from this process is a replacement for fossil fuels.

What About The Other 94 Solutions?

While we believe data is key to creating insights it can be easy to be overwhelmed by it. Our ambition is to create a comprehensive overview and provide actionable innovation intelligence for your Proof of Concept (PoC), partnership, or investment targets. The 5 plastic recycling startups showcased above are promising examples out of 99 we analyzed for this article. To identify the most relevant solutions based on your specific criteria and collaboration strategy, get in touch.

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