Are Plants the Solution to our Plastics Problem?

Cassidy Shell
Plastic made with inexpensive feedstock, supported by large investment in infrastructure dominated by oil and gas companies, appears not only to be here to stay, but poised for production growth. At the same time, media and social pressure to do something about plastic waste is increasing. Recycling is one solution, but the underlying question persists: is there a more environmentally attractive replacement? Fossil fuel-based chemicals, largely ethylene and propylene, are used in 99% of plastics production.  Many of the largest... Read More »

Fighting Fast Fashion: Innovation for a Circular Economy

Josh Gilbert
Today’s fashion industry causes considerable environmental damage. According to a 2018 UN report, it is responsible for around 10% of global carbon emissions. Energy-intensive raw inputs like polyester and cotton are predominant, the industry is responsible for 2% of global freshwater extraction, and the US alone sends over ten billion tons of textiles waste to landfill every year. Solving the fast fashion problem Innovation is helping the industry shift towards a more circular model of textiles manufacturing and providing new... Read More »

Closing the Circle on Textiles

Lily Lin
The world generates 92 million tons of textile waste annually, with an estimated increase of 60% to 147 million tons in 2030. Textile waste management is a global challenge that that is likely to become a source of regulatory and reputational risk. Just ask Burberry after burning £28M of products, or H&M who was called out for burning an average of 12 tons of unsold product a year. If dealt with correctly, textile waste could become a business opportunity. According... Read More »

From Bioplastics To Plastic Alternatives – Recent Investment Snapshot Of Alternative Packaging Solutions

Leo Zhang
The chemical sector is facing increasingly stricter environmental regulations and the old school business model of selling petroleum-based chemicals in bulk has reached its plateau. Consumers are also becoming more involved in sustainability, demanding more green products from manufacturers. Plastic is a classic example to illustrate the significant environmental effects the use of petroleum-based chemicals. A UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) studied showed that more than 8 million tons of plastic are being dumped in our oceans each year, while the... Read More »

Less waste, more fed – Start-ups and VCs are changing the way food waste is handled

Alexander Paulus
It’s no longer news that world population is on pace to grow from 7.3 billion to 8.5 billion by 2030 (United Nations). With this projected growth, each year will welcome roughly 85.7 million new people, and with that, 85.7 million more mouths to feed in a time where the current population cannot adequately feed itself. In many countries like the U.S. that are relatively food-secure, individuals rarely hesitate when disposing damaged or recently-expired foods, and often supermarkets choose to destroy... Read More »

Technological edge means business: why we’re adding patents to i3

Jules Besnainou
Each investor, innovation executive or business unit manager has their unique process to discover and evaluate companies in a technology area. However, they all share one key criterion to set companies apart: technological edge and the ability to protect it. With that in mind, we have been hard at work on a feature that would allow you to easily navigate a company's IP portfolio. And it is now ready! Here's what we just launched on i3 Connect: A tile showing US and... Read More »

The Internet of Waste Bins: Interview with the Co-founder of Enevo

Tom Turula
Enevo aims to make Big Data indispensable in the waste collection industry, with a sensor-based solution that tracks container fill-levels and optimizes pickup routes accordingly. When Enevo received $8 million in financing this summer, one investor compared the Finnish startup to Airbnb and Uber in its potential to disrupt a conservative industry. Indeed the smart logistics solution is rapidly gaining traction with waste collectors around the world – from Boston to Tokyo. We met up with Co-founder Fredrik Kekalainen at the... Read More »

Taking Hi-tech Waste Sorting Mainstream: An Interview with ZenRobotics’ CEO

Tom Turula
ZenRobotics, a Global Cleantech 100 company from Finland, challenges the recycling industry to smarten and automate its waste sorting system. Conceived of by two Finnish PhD scientists, the ZenRobotics Recycler™ relies on cutting edge sensor technology and artificial intelligence (AI) to analyze bulky waste streams, and to control the robot arms that sort the valuables. We spoke with Juho Malmberg, CEO of ZenRobotics, on his insights into what this pioneering company has in store in the next five years. You... Read More »

3Q14 Venture Investment in Recycling & Waste Technology: Something Old, Something New

Troy Ault
Two fundraising events in the Recycling & Waste sector piqued our interest last week. First, Finnish company Enevo raised an $8 million Series B round for its planned network of trash can sensors, which provide data on how full a garbage bin is and allow municipalities to optimize collection routes accordingly. Secondly, India-based Attero disclosed a $15 million Series C addition for its e-waste offering. The latter was noteworthy because we’ve seen other start-ups similar to Attero gaining traction recently. Shanghai-based Aihuishou raised... Read More »

This Deal Matters: LanzaTech Raises $60 Million; Corporate Investors Committed to Technology Innovations

Leo Zhang
LanzaTech, the Illinois-based technology developer of waste gas fermentation to liquid fuels and chemicals, announced it has raised $60 million in its first close of Series D growth equity round. Mitsui & Co., a leading Japanese multi-industry conglomerate, led the round with a $20 million investment. Given the current difficult capital raising market, this deal is also significant in a sense that it has attracted both new and existing investors. Two new investors, Siemens Venture Capital and China International Capital... Read More »