30 June 2023
Chemicals group BASF has taken an investment in a Swiss start-up company called DePoly, a developer of chemical recycling technology, writes Footwearbiz.
Founded in 2020, DePoly has developed technology that converts mixed post-consumer and post-industrial polyester plastic waste streams, including polyester-containing fabrics and fibres, back into their precursors.
Its claim is that the process delivers new precursors “at virgin-grade quality”.
In addition, it says its process is energy-efficient because it operates at room temperature and standard pressure. Also, there is no need for pre-sorting, pre-washing, or removal of contaminant materials.
On the strength of this, through its in-house venture capital company, BASF co-led a recent seed financing round in which DePoly secured 12.3 million Swiss francs in funding. Zurich-based venture capital firm Wingman Ventures co-led the investment round with BASF. Other participants were Beiersdorf, Infinity Recycling, CIECH Ventures and Angel Invest.
The funding will enable DePoly to accelerate scale-up and development of its technology, leading to the building of a demonstration plant, which it expects to be operational before the end of 2024.
“Plastics are an essential part of everyday life,” BASF said, “but only about 10% are recycled, with the majority going to incineration or landfill. As brand owners increasingly aim for higher recycled content rates in their products, the demand for advanced recycling technologies is expected to grow.”
For her part, the chief executive and co-founder of DePoly, Samantha Anderson, said the start-up was thrilled to have backing from BASF and other strategic investors.
She added: “Our technology has the potential to fundamentally change the lifecycle of PET plastics and reinforce global efforts in tackling the climate challenge.”