Social enterprise Greenbatch has come a long way since 2016, when it drew up plans detailing a vision to establish a plastic reprocessing facility in Perth.
Founded by entrepreneur and engineer Darren Lomman, Greenbatch has formulated a solid business plan that involves tapping into the growing 3D printing market while repurposing single-use plastic bottles.
By initially partnering with about 50 schools across the state, Greenbatch plans to reprocess plastic bottles recycled by students to produce 3D printing filament, which it will then sell to schools and other customers.
Thus far, the startup has executed a successful crowdfunding campaign that exceeded its target by 40 per cent, and has secured a number of valuable partnerships with in-kind benefits.
The University of Western Australia is its biggest supporter to date, having provided an office for Greenbatch to grow.
The university and startup are on the brink of signing a 10-year lease that will allow Greenbatch to build a reprocessing workshop with the capacity to produce 300 kilograms of plastic per hour.
It aims to have stage one of the facility up and running by the end of the year, with enough resources to operate a few hours per month and reprocess 600kg in that time, before scaling up.
Greenbatch said more than 300 million tonnes of new plastic was produced worldwide each year, with less than 10 per cent being recycled and reprocessed, meaning over 90 per cent ends up in landfills, litter, rivers, oceans and being turned into air pollution via waste incinerators.
“Once commissioning is complete, this will take WA’s plastic reprocessing capability from zero to 130 million plastic bottles per year,” Mr Lomman told Business News.