The Recycling Challenge
As Stewardship Ontario EVP, Lyle Clarke, explains, “The challenge with plastics is to efficiently recover and realize value from the many different types that consumers put out for recycling.” Sorting plastics for different recycling streams takes time and costs money. Plastics recycling technologies that can handle a range of materials, including bags, bottles and mixed plastics, have the potential to take the industry in new directions.
The Environmental Technology
Turning Plastics into Valuable Industrial Waxes
In the fall of 2010, the Canadian Innovation Exchange named cleantech company, GreenMantra Technologies, one of Canada’s 25 most innovative companies. Its owner had found a way to convert recycled household plastics, including plastic packaging films, into valuable commodities like wax, thereby increasing the worth of the waste it uses as raw materials.
Unique Catalytic Process
Pushkar Kumar, the developer of the technology and CEO of GreenMantra, began with a pilot unit. His company combines a unique and cost-effective catalytic process with off-the-shelf processing equipment to transform discarded plastic into synthetic products—elevating everyday, unloved materials into higher value industrial waxes, used in applications such as roads, tires, wood products and polishes. The City of Vancouver is already using GreenMantra waxes for asphalt.
Reducing, Reusing and Recycling
By recycling existing petroleum-based sources and recovering the hydrocarbons within, GreenMantra is emerging as a low-cost, energy-efficient producer of environmentally responsible alternative products. In fact, the company’s plastic conversion process is so efficient that over 95 per cent of the plastics that enter the system are successfully turned into new materials.
By making polymers from polymers, GreenMantra is successfully keeping the molecules in play. And, because GreenMantra’s technology allows the flexibility to manufacture to exact client specifications, the company’s products are always in demand.
New Facility and FedDev Funding
With an initial investment from the Investment Accelerator Fund, delivered by MaRS, GreenMantra ramped up its pilot operations in Brantford in 2012. And, at the start of 2013, FedDev Ontario’s Investing in Business Innovation initiative announced a $750,000 commitment to GreenMantra, to complete commercial scale-up. The investment will help grow GreenMantra, generate high-value jobs for southern Ontario and create a competitive advantage in local and international markets.
The Blue Box Collaborators
Stewardship Ontario’s Blue Box—Stewardship Ontario is a not-for-profit organization funded and governed by the industries that make and market the products and packaging materials recycled through the programs it manages–the Blue Box and Orange Drop.
GreenMantra Technologies—GreenMantra has pioneered a catalytic platform technology that converts recycled plastics into higher value products—waxes, greases/lubricant and fuels. The technology is highly flexible and can use a wide variety of plastic feedstocks: virgin polyethylene and polypropylene, recycled consumer waste plastics and post-industrial plastics.
MaRS IAF—The Investment Accelerator Fund (IAF) helps accelerate the growth of new technology companies being established in Ontario and positions them for further investment by angels and venture capitalists.
MaRS Cleantech Fund LP—The MaRS Cleantech Fund is a privately funded venture capital fund that provides early-stage funding to Canada’s leading Cleantech companies. The Fund was launched by Murray McCaig and Tom Rand in 2012 and has invested in seven companies across all categories of Cleantech.
FedDev Ontario—The Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario was launched in August 2009. Through funding initiatives, it is driving economic and community development, innovation and economic diversification, while contributing to the success of communities, businesses, educational institutions and not-for-profit organizations.