Sydney-based tech startup Samsara Eco announced today it has raised $6 million to establish a local recycling plant in one of Australia’s major cities, which will commercialise the use of its carbon-neutral recycling process.
The funding round was backed by the Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC), along with Woolworths Group’s venture capital and growth fund W23 and CSIRO’s Main Sequence Ventures.
While Samsara is yet to settle on a location for the recycling factory – which will be built in either Sydney or Melbourne – construction is slated for later this year. Once it reaches full-scale production in 2023, the company anticipates it will process more than 20,000 tonnes of plastic per annum.
Samsara founder and CEO Paul Riley said the current approach to recycling is inefficient and ill-equipped to handle the plastic pollution crisis we are faced with today.
“If we are serious about addressing this problem in a meaningful way, we need a new approach to how plastic is made and recycled,” he said.
"Samsara is that solution. Instead of mining for fossil fuels to create new plastics or relying on current recycling methods which result in only nine percent being actually recycled, we can take plastic that already exists and infinitely recycle it.
“Unlike other alternate recycling practices, our process is performed at room temperature, and is truly carbon neutral so it’s all-round better for the environment — we’re not just solving a critical waste problem, we’re doing it in a sustainable way.”
Developed in conjunction with the Australian National University, Samsara’s technology works by using enzymes to break down plastic (polymer) into its original building blocks – monomers – for reuse in the manufacturing of food-grade plastics.
The biocatalyst tech can also disintegrate waste that is difficult to recycle, such as coloured plastics, multi-layered plastics and mixed plastics.
“Samsara’s innovative technology is bringing a welcome solution to the major challenge of plastics recycling,” CEFC CEO Ian Learmonth said.
“The ability to infinitely recycle plastics is likely to significantly increase recovery rates and reduce the volume of plastics that end up in landfill.”
"Expanding resource efficiency and creating a circular economy can radically improve recycling in Australia and around the world. The potential emissions and landfill benefits are enormous.”
The fresh raise will also help Samsara grow its team of scientists and comes after the company was awarded a grant by the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre’s (AMGC) Commercialisation Fund to foster the new recycling process.
The company also secured a recent partnership with Tennis Australia to recycle 5,000 plastic bottles from the Australian Open using its eco-friendly technology.
"Samsara is at the forefront of recycling, having identified a new way to infinitely recycle plastic, which has been a major challenge for businesses globally,” W23 managing director Ingrid Maes said.
“We’re excited about the potential of Samsara and their ambitious plans.
“We look forward to partnering with Samsara as they work to make infinite recycling a national and global reality.”
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