Reincarnation ecologyAn Australian startup that uses enzyme technology to break down plastic into its core molecules announced today that it has raised A$54 million ($34.7 million) in Series A funding. The company plans to build its first plastic recycling facility in Melbourne later this year, aiming to be in full production by 2023.
Investors in this round include Breakthrough Victoria, Temasek, Assembly Climate Capital, DCVC and INP Capital. Existing investors including deep tech fund Main Sequence, Woolworths Group’s W23 and Clean Energy Finance Corporation (CEFC) also participated.
Samsara launched last year in partnership with the Australian National University. TechCrunch The startup was last reported when it raised $6 million earlier this year.
The company’s enzyme-based technology breaks plastics down into molecular building blocks, turning them into new plastic products — which in turn can break down again, creating what Reincarnation calls infinite plastic recycling.
Samsara’s new funding will be used to expand, build its edible plastic enzyme bank and fund its first commercial facility, which it says will be able to recycle 20,000 tonnes of plastic indefinitely, starting in 2024. It will also expand its engineering team and expand operations in Europe and North America.
Since it announced its last funding round in March, Samsara has been focused on expanding its library of enzymes, which are now able to depolymerize several different types of plastics, said CEO and founder Paul Riley. It also works with partners to develop market solutions using Samsara’s plastic recycling technology.
Reincarnation’s technology is able to break down plastic into its core molecules in minutes, regardless of color, type and state, Riley said. Its Melbourne plant will be the first to recycle PET plastic and polyester, which Riley said make up about a fifth of the plastic produced each year. Its long-term mission is to recycle mixed bale plastics and advance its technology to the point where each plastic can be recycled infinitely.
“Given the scale of the plastic crisis, our vision has always been to scale up infinite plastic recycling as quickly as possible,” he said. “For us, this financing aims to partner with those who can bring industry expertise and work to address one of the world’s most prominent climate challenges – fossil plastics – and in the process reduce plastic pollution by closing the loop company cooperation.”
Samsara is also preparing to launch its first enzyme-recycling packaging in partnership with Woolworths Group. The packs will hit Woolworths supermarket shelves next year, propelling the company towards its goal of recycling 1.5 million tonnes of plastic a year by 2030. The Woolworths Group has committed to turning the first 5,000 tonnes of recycled Samsara plastic into its branded packaging products such as vegetable and bakery trays.
Riley said Samsara’s technology is highly resistant to contamination and can recycle colored plastics, mixed plastics and multi-layered plastics, meaning it can be used in a wide range of industries including packaging, fashion, automotive, medical, electronics and construction.
accounts of fashion About 10% of global carbon dioxide emissionsAustralia has the second highest per capita textile consumption in the world, Riley said, giving Samsara the opportunity to recycle discarded fast fashion pieces in the form of mixed fibre textiles, thereby reducing the amount of clothing that ends up in landfill.
“As we expand our pool of edible plastic enzymes, the opportunities for infinite plastic recycling will continue to grow in all of these industries, meaning we’ll never have to produce plastic from fossil fuels again,” Riley said.