A polypropylene recycling project, which promises to produce virgin-like resin, is gaining the backing of a well-known financier of material recovery efforts.
Closed Loop Fund is making a $3 million investment in PureCycle Technologies, which made news last year with its plans to create a PP recycling facility near Ironton, Ohio, at a former Dow Chemical Co. polystyrene plant that closed in 2016.
PureCycle, when fully operational, expects to have a capacity to handle more than 105 million pounds of recycled PP annually.
"Until now, recycled PP had limited applications. We're single-handedly removing those limitations and giving companies the choice to use more sustainable, recycled resins," said PureCycle CEO Mike Otworth in a statement.
Closed Loop fund, which calls itself a social impact investment fund, is looking to invest a total of $100 million by 2020 in projects to advance recycling infrastructure and circular supply chains.
The fund was created with the financial backing of several well-known companies: 3M, Coca-Cola, Colgate-Palmolive, Dr Pepper Snapple, Johnson & Johnson, Keurig Green Mountain, Nestle Waters North America, PepsiCo, Procter & Gamble, Unilever and Walmart Foundation.
"Our CPG [consumer packaged goods] partners want post-consumer recycled PP, but we need technologies like PureCycle's to ensure enough material is available at the specifications brands need," said Closed Loop Fund CEO Ron Gonen in a statement. "We anticipate significant market opportunity for PureCycle."
PureCycle, in revealing the project last year, indicated it will cost about $120 million using technology licensed from Procter & Gamble, one of the Closed Loop Fund partners.
P&G, based in Cincinnati, includes a wide variety of popular consumer brands, including Tide, Luvs, Old Spice, Gillette and Mr. Clean, known as Meister Proper in Germany.
"Our goal is to build circular supply chains," Gonen said in his statement.
PureCycle has said it expects to be fully operational in 2020.
The former Dow site was selected because of its existing amenities, including both rail and Ohio River access, needed electrical service and a building previously used for material handling, the company has said.
A representative of the Closed Loop Fund could not be reached for immediate comment regarding the amount of the investment.
P&G involvement in Closed Loop Fund and PureCycle comes as the company wants to significantly increase the amount of recycled plastics used in its packaging.
PureCycle is operated by Innventure, a Chicago-based company founded by Otworth and former Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. CEO Greg Wasson. Innventure is focused on commercializing innovative technologies. Its initial work is with P&G.
Closed Loop Fund has invested in both private companies as well as local government collection and processing programs in its efforts to expand recycling efforts.