Circulate Capital makes inaugural investments in plastic recyclers in India, Indonesia

Investments will help Lucro Plastecycle Private Ltd. and PT Tridi Oasis Group address ocean plastics.

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Circulate Capital, the Singapore-based investment management company focused on preventing plastic from leaking into the ocean and advancing the circular economy, has announced that the Circulate Capital Ocean Fund (CCOF) has made inaugural investments in two plastic recycling companies in India and Indonesia for a total investment of $6 million. The investment fund is dedicated to the ocean plastic crisis in South and Southeast Asia.

The $106 million CCOF is backed by PepsiCo, its first investor, Procter & Gamble, Dow, Danone, Unilever, The Coca-Cola Co., Chevron Phillips Chemical and Chanel, which commit capital and technical and procurement expertise to help the portfolio scale and drive maximum impact.

CCOF’s first investments are in companies that specialize in building markets to collect and recycle local plastics. Lucro Plastecycle Private Ltd., Mumbai, India, is a manufacturer that specializes in recycling difficult-to-manage flexible plastic for its own production and for sale to other facilities across the country. PT Tridi Oasis Group in Jakarta, Indonesia, is a female-led company specializing in recycling PET bottles into rPET flakes, which are used to manufacture packaging and textiles.

These investments by CCOF will help to build markets and circular plastic value chains that prevent plastic leakage and support local communities, Circulate Capital says. In addition, Circulate Capital is supporting these companies as they manage the direct consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak on their businesses while also providing access to short-term lines of credit when possible. The loan made to Tridi Oasis is 50 percent guaranteed by USAID, further derisking the investment and demonstrates blended finance in action, the investment management company says.

“If the current health and economic crisis has taught us anything, it’s that we need to future proof our local supply chains and economies,” says Rob Kaplan, CEO, Circulate Capital. “The resilience of critical infrastructure like waste and recycling goes hand-in-hand with protecting the health and livelihoods of our communities. By investing in small and medium-sized businesses that reduce plastic pollution and advance the circular economy, we can build sustainable businesses that can endure through a crisis.”

He adds, “India and Indonesia have a great opportunity to reduce the amount of plastic waste that leaks into our oceans by investing in their highly fragmented waste and recycling industries.”

Ujwal Desai, managing director, Lucro, says, “We focus on films and flexible plastic that many others avoid because we believe there is inherent, untapped value that can be realized by turning plastic waste into valuable products. With Circulate Capital’s support we will further grow and scale our business, with new collection centers planned to increase postconsumer sourcing and better support the informal waste sector community, as well as expand the range of our recycling processes to achieve our vision of becoming a global leader in recycled products. Our trademark Plast-E-Cycle process sets new standards for the industry as we buy back and recycle flexible plastic from manufacturers, retailers, distributors, scrap aggregators and waste pickers, thereby closing the loop in plastic usage. The opportunity in this space is significant; with over 200 customers today, our business has grown 100 times in eight years.”

Dian Kurniawati, CEO, Tridi Oasis, says, “More than four years ago, we saw an opportunity to turn the plastic waste on our streets and beaches into valuable products. We are excited to work with Circulate Capital to turn this vision into a reality. Our goal is to scale our capacity to recycle locally sourced plastic, to grow our customer base by partnering with international and local manufacturers (including Circulate Capital’s investors) and to diversify our products to increase our impact and prevent more plastic from ending up in the environment. We can create a meaningful contribution by providing value along the waste management supply chain through local jobs and increasing the awareness of the ocean plastics problem among our communities.”

Lucro and Tridi Oasis also will receive support from Circulate Capital’s network of partners to help them scale and connect with the supply chains of global manufacturers.