In June 2020, Swiss Tech for Impact startup DePoly won the SEIF Award for Scalable Solution. Since then, they have convinced even more juries with their sustainable solution closing the loop on PET production.

DePoly just celebrated their first birthday, and over the last year they officially incorporated the company and closed a pre-seed round. Currently, they are finishing the construction on their pre-demo plant.

Because of the audience who was present during the Awards, we were able to connect with some parties that were interested in our technology! It also helped us with fundraising goals, and during a pandemic that was a big priority for us. 

Dr. Samantha Anderson, CEO & Founder of DePoly

What challenges are DePoly addressing?

Plastics are practically inescapable in our everyday lives. For most of us it is difficult to imagine life without it. In 2019, the emissions coming from the production and disposal of single use plastics were equivalent to that of 189 coal plants, according to a report by the Center for International Environmental Law. A number that is expected to increase.

At the same time, marine pollution is reaching alarming levels. An average of 13,000 pieces of plastic waste can now be found per square kilometer of ocean according to the UN. Over the past decades, billions of tons of plastics have been produced and estimations suggest that only around 9% of it has been recycled.

The solution

With their innovative approach, the EPFL spin-off DePoly has developed a solution to chemically recycle post-consumer PET plastic back to its main raw materials.

Capable of processing mixed streams at room temperature, DePoly’s recycling process generates the same raw materials the petrol industry makes to produce new virgin bottles. These virgin quality raw materials can then be sold back to the industry, to make new items. Promoting a circular economy approach.

The solution makes an important contribution in closing the linear life cycle of plastic production. It has the potential to help clean up our oceans and prevent plastic from ending up in landfills.

Why did DePoly apply for the SEIF Awards?

DePoly is and has been involved in many competitions, events, and even a documentary film. When asked how they choose the competitions they participate in, co-founder & CEO Dr. Samantha Anderson says they look for ones that they think are applicable to them. Ones that have workshops where you can network with other startups, or big companies, are always great.

SEIF can help you expand your network and there is also a recognition of the award that comes from both a nomination and a win that is great to have.

Dr. Samantha Anderson, CEO & Founder of DePoly

We applied to SEIF because we liked the focus on Tech for Impact, especially with the focus on reaching the UN SDGs. We also like that SEIF is self aware that reaching these goals with new tech can have both a positive and negative impact, and that we (and startups) should always be aware of that.

Dr. Samantha Anderson, CEO & Founder of DePoly

How did they convince the SEIF Awards Jury?

The global challenges surrounding the production and disposal of single use plastics are pressing. There is an urgent need to find solutions beyond the linear modes of production and consumption.

By recycling post-consumer PET plastic waste, including the waste the current recycling system cannot deal with, DePoly can increase recycling rates. Which in turn would result in less plastic ending up in landfills, oceans or incineration centers.

The jury was convinced by the technology, a strong team and the circular business model involving industry partners. DePoly delivered their strong impact business case with confidence to the jury. In addition, they safely faced critical questions, pointing to clear advantages over the competition.

All jury members were convinced by the urgency of the challenges DePoly aims to address. Our society needs innovative and scalable solutions like DePoly’s to tackle issues related to single-use plastic, recycling and climate change.


Do you have an impact startup with a tech focus and the will to be one of the change-makers in the world? 

Don’t miss the chance to apply for the SEIF Awards 2021 before March 31st, 2021.