Currently, only 16% of all plastic produced globally is recycled, while the remaining 84% is incinerated, goes to a landfill, or pollutes the environment. Despite growing restrictions on single-use plastic in certain countries, the global plastics industry is growing at an unprecedented rate.
Current waste management options in the market provide ineffective solutions to the plastic waste dilemma. More than 150 million tons of CO2e of greenhouse gas emitted per year are due to plastic incineration.
The plastics and recycling industries use the ASTM International Resin Identification Coding System to identify plastic materials based on the type of plastic resin that the product is made of, from Resin #1 to Resin #7. The most commonly recycled plastics are Resin # 1, polyethylene terephthalate (beverage bottles, cups), and Resin #2, high-density polyethylene (bottles, cups, milk jugs). Resin #3 to 7 (including pipes, plastic bags, six-pack rings, auto parts, food containers, plastic utensils, Styrofoam, and other plastics, such as acrylic and nylon) are generally tougher to recycle and not universally collected in local recycling programs.
Simultaneously, the global concrete and construction industry is one of the largest emitters of CO2, with concrete production accounting for roughly 8% of annual CO2 emissions primarily from its cement content.
Founded in 2018, the Center for Regenerative Design and Collaboration (CRDC) and its subsidiary, CRDC Global, have developed, patented, and commercialized an innovative technology for converting co-mingled and difficult-to-recycle plastic waste (including materials recovery facility residuals and river/ocean-bound plastic) into a high-value, lightweight synthetic eco-aggregate aptly named RESIN8™.
RESIN8™ is used in concrete, asphalt and cement and is virtually indistinguishable from conventional natural aggregates. Designed by and for the construction industry, CRDC’s process can take any type of plastic waste (Resins #1–7) as raw material, without discernment or limitation on the type or quantity. Sold to concrete manufacturers for use in structural and non-structural concrete products, RESIN8™ is a solution that promotes effective waste management, GHG reduction and resource conservation, while creating an innovative synthetic additive for use in the built environment.
If RESIN8™ were to replace just 2.8% of the natural aggregate used in concrete globally each year, this would be enough to absorb all the plastic waste on Earth.
Today, CRDC Global has production facilities in Costa Rica, the USA, South Africa, and Australia, with the flagship Costa Rica plant, launched in June 2022, producing 20 tons of RESIN8™ per week.
With partnerships with Habitat for Humanity, the United Nations Development Program, and the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, CRDC is securing contracts with large cement and concrete producers in the countries that the company operates.
Featured on the Toniic platform earlier this year, CRDC has raised over $1M from 7 investors of the Toniic community, either directly or via a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV).
As CRDC is gearing up for full commercial scale-up and replication, they raised their first round of outside funding. Featured on the Toniic platform earlier this year, CRDC has raised over $1M from 7 investors of the Toniic community, either directly or via a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) set up by Toniic member Jeff Sobel:
“As a society, we urgently need more companies capable of delivering positive impacts at scale. CRDC is a perfect example of a situation where SPVs are a terrific impact vehicle. We created the SPV in a low-cost structure and opened it to investors in our community who wanted to get involved at a ticket size lower than the minimum to go direct. The feedback within Toniic has been incredible.”
Toniic member Meg Arnold who invested in the SPV also shared:
“I learned of the CRDC investment opportunity by joining Toniic’s bi-monthly Investment Roundup calls that the team puts together, which is always an impressively packed and informative hour. Although climate change action is the dominant lens of my impact investing, I didn’t expect to be as compelled by CRDC as I was during the brief summary presented that morning. I joined a subsequent deep-dive discussion on CRDC, and then fellow Toniic member Jeff Sobel, who led the US SPV, set up calls with the company’s management team. The Toniic network helpfully enabled me to access due diligence conducted by others. All of these elements accelerated and enabled our investment decision.
What drew me to CRDC specifically is its potential to address two critical contributors to climate and environmental challenges — the plastics industry (and associated waste) and the construction industry. As well, the company has the chance to create a two-sided marketplace, between plastics producers and recyclers on the one hand and the construction industry on the other. CRDC’s potential to remove plastic waste from the many places in the world where it is rampant and convert it into a viable commercial product that reduces the carbon footprint of the building industry was something I felt compelled to support. We all know, and as an ocean sailor I see directly, the litany of ills that plastic is inflicting on our planet and its life.”
Another Toniic member who invested in the SPV also added:
“We are excited by our investment in CDRC because it is an opportunity to participate in a solution to one of the major environmental issues of our time and invest in a business that has unlimited potential.”