Future of Plastics Fund makes key first investment

The Accelerating Growth Fund Ltd (AGF), a subsidiary of climate action NGO WRAP, has announced a first key investment made on behalf of the Future of Plastics Fund, a new Circular Economy impact fund being established by Archipelago Eco Investors to focus on the interlinked issues of plastic waste and climate. 

This first investment on behalf of the Future of Plastics Fund is into Greyparrot, a cutting-edge Artificial Intelligence (AI) Waste Recognition System and Analytics Platform which will enable better sorting of plastics and other waste streams.

The Accelerating Growth Fund Ltd has committed to invest into the Future of Plastics Fund, a new impact fund which will provide Venture Capital investment into SMEs developing technologies to address key barriers to circularity in the plastics sector. As part of their commitment, AGF has made an investment on behalf of the Future of Plastics Fund, into Greyparrot AI, who’s innovative Artificial Intelligence (AI) Waste Recognition System will automate waste composition analysis and the monitoring, auditing, and sorting of waste flows at scale in UK, Europe and globally.  The Accelerating Growth Fund Ltd will ‘warehouse’* the investment until the Future of Plastics Fund reaches a ‘first close’, later this year. 

Investment in the company is part of a Series A investment round which will enable Greyparrot to grow and expand across the waste management sector, and into new waste streams – including some from the world’s heaviest polluting industries. The Greyparrot AI-powered computer vision system has already analysed over ten billion packaging items in sorting plants to increase recycling rates and introduce accountability to the waste value chain.

The Future of Plastics Fund is being launched to provide catalytic investment into scalable technologies and solutions across the plastics economy, from packaging to textiles and e-commerce. An Article 9 Impact Fund, it will invest in a portfolio of SMEs to support upstream innovation in novel materials, in material efficiency, in delivery and re-use models and in design for end of life. It will also support downstream solutions targeting increased collection, sorting, cleaning and recycling of plastics with particular interest in hard to recycle materials such as laminates, films and textiles, and microplastics in industry and agriculture which have significant impact on human and ocean health.

With investment and support from Accelerating Growth Fund Ltd and parent company WRAP, and with other committed institutional investors, Family Offices and High Net Worth investors, The Future of Plastics Fund is looking to achieve a First Close in late 2022 and a final close of €100m targeted in 2023.

Claire Shrewsbury, Director of Insights and Innovation at WRAP the AGF parent company said “There is an urgent need for investment which can support new infrastructure to increase plastic recycling. Currently many of the technologies capable of addressing barriers in the plastic supply chains are still at a relatively early stage of development and need financial support to develop and come on stream. If we are to see an increase in recycling rates globally, and a reduction in plastic waste in the environment, then we need to support these innovative new technologies which is why the Accelerating Growth Fund Ltd is investing into the new Future of Plastic Fund.

“The funding required for new technologies to achieve scale is lacking and investment into the plastics economy is essential to enable brands and members of the UK Plastics Pact to meet our ambitious targets.”

Lucy Mortimer, Partner at the Future of Plastics Fund said, “Much of the plastic that enters our economy never gets recycled. Problematic packaging formats and ineffective sorting means much can end up in landfill rather than finding value in the Circular Economy. Investment in Greyparrot will enable more Material Recovery Facilities here in the UK, in Europe and across the US to achieve a higher degree of sorting and a greater proportion of plastic being recycled. And crucially, Greyparrot will produce data which can change the way plastic waste is valued. We are delighted to be able to support Greyparrot in their Series A fundraise.” 

Greyparrot uses cutting-edge AI vision technology to monitor, analyze and sort large volumes of waste at scale. Its innovative technology can be easily integrated into existing waste facilities across the UK and Europe and enable waste handlers to increase recycling rates through integration with sorting hardware and robotics, allowing more waste to be sorted and to a better standard to generate higher quality feedstock for recycling.

The approach will also provide valuable data for brands and retailers relevant to their potential Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) obligations in the UK, and worldwide, introducing a previously impossible degree of accountability into the waste value chain.

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