It makes up our shampoo bottles, is used in our food packaging, and is universally used throughout the world. Plastic is everywhere and in 2018, the EU collected almost 29.1 mm tonnes of it (Statista, 2020).
What the Plastogaz Startup team discovered during our Startup project is that 90% of that plastic waste is PP/PE plastics. The only plastic resin that is routinely recycled is PET that makes up drinking bottles. PP, PE and even non-bottle PET plastics are very difficult to collect, separate and recycle. This is why the majority of it ends up in landfill.
IMD boasts the slogan, ‘Real Learning, Real Impact’, and our Startup Team has definitely had the opportunity to do both. The Startup Projects involve three months of working in small groups for promising startups from the region’s innovation ecosystem. Most of those selected for this program over the past few years have now become important players in their industry.
Plastogaz is a Swiss-based startup that has researched, patented and proven a process that breaks down PP/PE plastics into green Naphtha. This can in turn be used to manufacture virgin quality plastics, essentially closing the circular economy loop! Such technology is particularly welcome and timely as the Nestle and Procter & Gamble’s of the world have committed to source the majority of their plastics from recycled sources by 2030. Current PET recycling channels will certainly not suffice to support the trend.
Our IMD MBA team has had the opportunity to meet the founders and assist in their business. The incredible thing is not only working with the dynamic founding team, but also the passion that has built up over the past few months. We really want them to succeed!
The business itself has so many opportunities, yet so little time to try to seize them all and tackle the moving target. Pitchdecks, financial models, customer research, PR, funding … . These are all good and dandy, but the real question is, ‘To what end?’ and ‘What’s most urgent?’. Marrying learnings from strategy, finance, and marketing classes with the components of the startup project has in itself been an experience. Our goal is to create value for the business and the customers.
Not only have we better understood the current plastic waste problem, but we also witnessed so many complexities for the solution. Felix and Antoine, the Plastogaz founders, are persistent in facing the problem that impacts us all, and providing efficient solutions. It is no exaggeration to say that the future of our living ecosystems relies on such ambitious individuals devoted to urgent ecological challenges.
We hope that we have provided Plastogaz with some tools and information that will help them in their journey. The passion we have built throughout the past few months will stay with us forever.
Christian Erana, CFA
For more details, you might also like to read the Bilan/Plastogaz Post