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Climate Tech

The Startup Turning Plants Into Plastic

December 10, 2023
x min read

Biodegradable bioplastics is an important frontier for reducing landfill waste and protecting the environment. And now there’s a startup with an innovative approach: turning plants into plastic.

What’s happening:

  • Sanford, North Carolina based bioplastics manufacturing company PlantSwitch has raised $7.7M USD in a new financing round
  • The round was led by NexPoint Capital

The big idea:

  • PlantSwitch upcycles agricultural residue into a plant based resin that is capable of making a wide variety of different single use plastics
  • The agricultural residue that PlantSwitch utilizes are all natural byproducts of food production
  • The resulting plant based resin can easily be integrated by existing plastic manufacturing companies and has an extremely low cost given it is from upcycled plant materials

Going deeper:

  • Many sustainable plastic manufacturers struggle to have their materials be able to compost or leave behind zero microplastics due to the inputs they use
  • By utilizing ingredients such as rice hulls and wheat straws, PlantSwitch is able to take advantage of plants that have no true alternative purpose and are highly compostable
  • PlantSwitch currently has partnerships with Sysco and Gordon Food Services to provide them with their plant based plastics

The intrigue:

  • The United States Department of Agriculture recently gave PlantSwitch a $4.94M USD grant

By the numbers:

  • Within 12 months, PlantSwitch’s materials are capable of being fully composted without leaving behind any microplastics in the soil
  • Many materials that are supposed to be compostable are actually made from polyactic acid and can only be composted at specialized facilities that are capable of providing a composting process which requires temperatures above 140 degrees Fahrenheit for 60 days

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