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What to do with all that plastic.

While blue boxes across Canada have helped ensure there is a second life for disposable plastics, some plastics are such low quality that they can’t be cost-effectively recycled (think plastic shopping bags).

But thanks to GreenMantra Technologies of Brantford, Ontario, there is hope for those lower-grade plastics. GreenMantra’s technology repurposes used plastics into industrially useful waxes and lubricants. The plastic waste is broken down to the molecular level, then processed and mixed into products like asphalt, inks, adhesives, and coatings.

Given that there is projected to be 12 billion metric tons of plastic waste in landfills (or in oceans!) globally by 2050, to say that there is international interest in GreenMantra’s technology would be an understatement.

Getting an assist from government.

Government programs played an important role in helping GreenMantra get off the ground. The company received more than $4 million in start-up investment through Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC), and in 2013, received $750,000 from FedDev Ontario to scale up its commercial operations.

The company also got a boost from the government-supported MaRS innovation hub, which helped it refine its business plan and connect with investors, soon scoring more than $17 million in venture capital from private investors.

Promoting green investment through public policy.

Government initiatives like SDTC and MaRS are vital to generating investor confidence and drawing in the private capital needed to grow clean innovators.

Accelerating clean innovation in Canada means creating the conditions where private investors can invest with confidence in clean technology developers like GreenMantra. Government can help. Find out how through Smart Prosperity's latest work on Accelerating #CleanInnovation across the Canadian economy.

Also: Read the Toronto Star’s report on how Canadian companies like GreenMantra are part of a new ‘upcycling’ economy.