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Investment moves potential marine debris into global market

Resource Recycling

Author: Jared Paben

A partnership involving Circulate Capital, Bantam Materials and an Indonesian processor will help to recover PET from remote areas of the Asian nation and deliver it to grocery store shelves in Europe and America.

Investment firm Circulate Capital announced on Jan. 11 it’s putting money into an existing partnership between global recycled plastic supplier Bantam Materials and Indonesian PET reclaimer PT Polindo Utama (Polindo). Bantam and Polindo together operate a company called Prevented Ocean Plastic Southeast Asia, which recovers PET from Indonesia’s more-populated islands.

The money from Singapore-based Circulate Capital, which aims to prevent ocean plastics, will allow Prevented Ocean Plastic Southeast Asia to build collection and aggregation centers on far-flung islands that lack drinking water and formal waste management systems, so the company can begin recovering PET bottles that would otherwise be burned or wash into the sea.

The amount of material that will be recovered is estimated to be substantial: 400,000 metric tons (over 880 million pounds) over a decade. Since Bantam Materials started marketing the recycled plastic in fall 2019, it has shipped nearly 30,000 tons of Prevented Ocean Plastic.

“We don’t believe in this habit that the sustainable business community has to some extent of announcing big but doing very little,” Vytas Gruodis, director of Bantam Materials (North America), told Resource Recycling. “We wanted to go from ‘say a lot and do very little’ to basically ‘do a lot and say the correct amount.'”

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