Circular Economy

BioCellection

A chemical process to transform waste plastics into high-value industrial building blocks

Team Lead

Miranda Wang

Solution Pitch

The Problem

91 percent of plastics end up in landfills, incinerators, and oceans. This results from two core issues: we lack the technology to turn dirty waste plastics into quality materials, and there are no recycling markets for most plastics. This is true even for cheap plastics like polyethylene, commonly used for bottles and bags. 

The Solution

To create markets for plastic that would otherwise become trash, BioCellection recycles them into chemical intermediates, which are industrial building blocks for manufactured products such as shoe soles or car parts. Working with waste disposal companies to collect their polyethylene materials, BioCellection breaks down plastic at the chemical level, and its process uses the resulting chemicals to create higher-value materials like nylon that manufacturers use.

The durable, biodegradable materials that BioCellection makes can replace products that usually require fuel-heavy processes to manufacture, such as absorbent polymers for diapers or female hygiene products. The technology is practical and cost-effective—and environmentally transformative.

Market Opportunity

BioCellection tackles the plastic challenge by creating a novel way to recycle polyethylene (PE), which is the top-produced plastic at 150 million tons per year. By partnering with local city governments, BioCellection enters the PE recycling services industry—valued at $250 million on the US West Coast alone. BioCellection’s products also create additional revenue streams by providing nylon for the $350 million 3D printing industry and polyurethane for the $5 billion footwear industry.

Partnership Goals

BioCellection currently seeks:

  • Mentorship on rebranding the organization to appeal to buyers of its recycled products as well as cities to use its recycling services; 
  • Advice from 3D printing experts and museums that would use its recycled products for creative applications; and
  • Strategic advice on how to scale as an organization while building a strong company culture. 

Organization Highlights

Some of BioCellection’s notable achievements include:

  • Participation in Stanford StartX, Echoing Green, Sustainable Ocean Alliance, Elemental Excelerator, SheEO, Rolex Awards for Enterprise Laureates, Schmidt Marine Technology Partners, Wharton Entrepreneurship and Venture Initiation Program, Plug and Play New Materials and Packaging; and
  • Selection as a Dorm Room Fund portfolio company.

Existing Partnerships

BioCellection currently partners with a range of organizations to collect waste streams and sell its products, such as:

  • The City of San José Environmental Services Department, which has contributed $120,000 in funding and provides access to the waste industry to collect plastic waste for recycling; 
  • GreenWaste Recovery, which increases BioCellection’s zero-waste metrics by providing a waste supply for pilots and future scale-up; and
  • Essentium, which tests BioCellection’s newly formulated nylons on its 3D printing platform for customers in the small-batch manufacturing space.

Solver Team

Organization Type:
For Profit

Headquarters:
Menlo Park, CA, USA

Stage:
Pilot

Working in:
USA

Employees:
11

Solution Team:

Sustainability

Recycling Plastics into Industrial Building Blocks

Solver BioCollection received the $25,000 GM Prize on Circular Economy from Member General Motors in 2019 to develop a chemical process to transform waste plastics into high-value industrial building blocks.

Sustainability

Recycling Plastics into Industrial Building Blocks

Solver BioCellection, which developed a chemical process to transform waste plastics into high-value industrial building blocks, received a $10,000 grant from Solve in 2019 for being selected as a Circular Economy Solver.

 
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