When Miranda Wang visited the Serangoon landfill in Indonesia, she realized the true scope of plastic pollution and the devastating toll it takes on the environment and the residents of developing countries that receive millions of pounds of dumped plastic waste from other countries each year. Inspired to solve this crisis, Wang and co-founder Jeanny Yao started NovoLoop, a circular company that turns plastic waste into repurposed goods.
NovoLoop collects polyethylene, the world’s most common plastic waste, from recycling centers that would otherwise dump it in a landfill, and uses it to make thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), a material commonly used in footwear, jackets, and other everyday goods.
Through a chemical process called accelerated thermal oxidative decomposition, the plastic is washed, shredded, and broken down into chemical building blocks which are then synthesized into performance materials. In Wang’s words, “We make products that are more valuable than the plastic waste from which they came.”
NovoLoop’s TPU meets the quality standards of virgin materials and is cost-competitive in the market, but its production has a 45 percent lower carbon footprint than conventional production methods.
NovoLoop recognizes that redesigned packaging and consumer choices can have an impact on plastic waste, but when it comes to large industries like agriculture and shipping, removing plastic from the equation is going to be an uphill battle. Their upcycled plastic solves this issue by offering an alternative that actually removes waste from landfills and doesn’t require oil as an input.