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CEFC backs Australian plastic recycling initiative

plastic recycling

Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) is backing Australian company Samsara Eco to change recycling with an enzyme that allows plastic to be recycled infinitely.

Samsara is developing a process that breaks down plastics, returning them to their original building blocks. This means the materials can be reused in new plastics, avoiding the constraints of existing recycling technologies.

The CEFC, through its Clean Energy Innovation Fund, is investing $1.1 million in Samsara on behalf of the Australian Government as part of a $6 million capital raising.

Samsara has also attracted investment from CSIRO’s Main Sequence and W23, the Woolworths venture capital and innovation fund.

Working in partnership with the Australian National University, Samsara’s proprietary technology involves a depolymerization process which uses modified enzymes to rapidly degrade plastic down to small molecules. This ensures recycled plastics materials have the same structural integrity as virgin plastics.

The patented process builds on a 2016 discovery of bacteria that produces an enzyme that consumes plastic. Samsara has synthesised a novel enzyme to be dramatically more effective. After being broken down to its original components, the resulting product can be sold in pelletised form to customers.

Ian Learmonth, CEFC Chief Executive Officer, 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.”

Paul Riley, Samsara Founder, said the current approach to recycling is inefficient and ill-equipped to handle the plastic pollution crisis.

“If we are serious about changing our ways, we need a new approach to how plastic is made and recycled. Instead of mining for fossil fuels to create new plastics or relying on current recycling methods which sees only about nine per cent actually recycled, we can take plastic that already exists and infinitely recycle it.

“The latest round of capital raising brings us one step closer to making infinite recycling a national and global reality.”

The CEFC has appointed Virescent Ventures to manage investments made through the Clean Energy Innovation Fund.

For more information, visit: www.cefc.com.au

 

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