Umincorp, the Dutch recycler of plastic waste, has raised €15M for its innovative plastic recycling plant. With Rotterdam having set an aggressive goal to become a circular economy, Umincorp (Urban Mining Corp) will play a key role in transforming all the plastic waste into raw materials. With the funding, the company is taking the next step in recycling plastics from the waste stream of households.
In Europe, only 42 per cent of plastic packaging post-consumer waste is recycled and the European Directive has set a target of 55 per cent plastic packing waste recycling rate by 2030. With plastic continuing to be the preferred material of the industry, Rotterdam-based Umincorp is looking at more efficient ways of recycling plastics.
The new €15M in funding received by Umincorp will mainly be utilised for the construction of a new rPET factory in Rotterdam. With this new factory, Umincorp says it will take the next step in recycling plastics from the waste streams of households. The plant will be built by the Urban Mining Corp in 2022 and will specialise in high-quality plastic recycling.
At Umincorp’s new rPET factory, the company will transform plastic waste into a high-quality raw material for plastic producers. The funding from Invest-NL and Rotterdam Energy Transition Fund shows the urgent need for transition to a circular economy. Umincorp wants to be a leader in circular plastics and the new plant is being seen as vital to prevent plastic waste and save thousands of tonnes of CO2 emission.
Arno Bonte, Rotterdam city councillor, says “Every year millions of tonnes of plastic disappear in the incinerators, which is a shame. That is why we, as a municipality, like to invest in this recycling plant. This helps us to achieve our climate goals and to shape a circular economy in Rotterdam.”
Umincorp: What you need to know
Umincorp is a plastic waste recycler known for turning plastic waste streams into pure raw materials for producers of plastic products. These raw materials from Umincorp’s recycling plants can be used for packaging, allowing for the industry to use fewer plastics from fossil raw materials and achieve their recycling targets.
However, every plastic household waste recycling plant faces the challenge of sorting various plastic materials that make up household waste. In order to streamline this sorting process, Umincorp uses both existing techniques and self-developed processes such as Magnetic Density Separation (MDS). This process separates plastics in the waste stream using a magnetic liquid.
With its MDS process and other existing techniques, Umincorp is able to recover more plastic than traditional techniques. The increased recovery of plastics will help Europe meet its recycling targets and recover plastics of higher purity. Umincorp says with recycled plastics of higher purity, these raw materials can be used for high-quality plastic products and used in innovative ways.
“Our technology has now been proven and offers every opportunity to actually shake up the recycling market. We show that things can be done differently. Upscaling enables us to increase our impact and make a crucial contribution to the challenges of recycling. The investment proves confidence in our approach to plastic recycling and helps us take the next step in the roll-out in the Netherlands and beyond,” says Jaap Vandehoek, co-founder of Umincorp.
Umincorp is using its MDS technology to ensure less plastic goes into the incinerator and recover high-purity plastic for producers of plastic products. With its ability to recycle rather difficult PET trays, Umincorp’s new rPET plant will create a closed raw material circle: “from plastic to waste to raw material to plastic”.
Invest-NL and Energietransitiefonds Rotterdam (Rotterdam Energy Transition Fund) are jointly investing €15M in Umincorp. Invest-NL is investing €9M and will make use of the EIB InnovFin SME Guarantee. InnovationQuarter is involved as fund manager of the Rotterdam Energy Transition Fund in this investment. The Netherlands has set aggressive sustainability goals and Invest-NL invests in companies that will help the Netherlands get there.
With its access to European funds, the Invest-NL invests in entrepreneurs shaping the Netherlands of tomorrow and the ones driving the economy of 2050. With over 31 investments across sustainability and deep tech, Invest-NL has committed over €416M so far.
Wouter Bos, CEO of Invest-NL, says, “Contributing to a circular economy and the minimum possible use of raw materials is one of our most important objectives. With this investment in Umincorp, we show that with innovative technology more is possible in the field of recycling, while also achieving a nice environmental benefit by significantly reducing CO2 emissions.”
Rotterdam had announced a new €100M fund to back scaleups helping the city reach sustainability goals in June. The city of Rotterdam partnered InnovationQuarter to create Rotterdam Energy Transition Fund that helps accelerate the local energy transition and also reach sustainability goals.
“With the innovations and development of the rPET factory, Umincorp contributes greatly to the circular economy of the Rotterdam region. Less plastic is burned and a closed raw material circuit is created, resulting in a huge reduction in CO2 emissions,” says Rafael Koene, fund manager of Energietransitiefonds Rotterdam. “This means that Umincorp fits perfectly within the strategy and objectives of the Energy Transition Fund: reducing CO2 emissions and reducing the use of raw materials,” he adds.