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Thursday, April 18, 2024

Plantswitch raises $8 million for Sanford plant

Sanford-based PlantSwitch, which has developed a technology to make plastics more compostable, has raised $8 million from an investor.

PlantSwitch has developed technology that converts cellulosic agricultural waste streams into a low-cost, compostable plastic resin alternative. The company believes it can replace all petroleum-based single-use plastic with plants.

As bans on single-use plastic are increasing globally and major corporations are searching for ways to reduce their plastic footprint, PlantSwitch believes it can provide an alternative to conventional plastic that is both sustainable and scalable. The company says its compounds down completely in countertop compost machines within eight hours and within three months in commercial compost conditions.

“Alternatives to plastic have traditionally failed to deliver on cost, quality and availability,” said CEO and founder Dillon Baxter. “PlantSwitch was founded with the mission to deliver a bioplastic alternative that can replace all traditional single-use plastics.

The money will be used to launch PlantSwitch’s first commercial manufacturing facility in Sanford and expand its team. The 52,000-square-foot facility is expected to produce over 50 million pounds of bioplastic resin annually.

Baxter says the plant will eventually have about 35 employees when it is fully functioning.

PlantSwitch’s customers include some of the leading brands and manufacturers in food service, consumer goods, cosmetics, and agricultural products, and the company expects this facility to reach its capacity in 2025. PlantSwitch currently has 12 employees — primarily chemical engineers and polymer scientists.

The investment came from NexPoint Capital, a large institutional investor that invests early-stage capital to climate-smart technologies that will require significant infrastructure to scale. NexPoint currently holds over $16 billion in assets under management.

“At NexPoint, we are always looking to support companies that do important work, and offer attractive opportunities for growth,” said Scott Johnson, managing director and portfolio manager at NexPoint Capital, in a statement.  “PlantSwitch certainly fits that bill and represents an investment that aligns with our values and expertise in Climate Tech businesses.”

PlantSwitch is now gearing up for its 2024 Series A fundraise, which will be used to expand capacity with additional manufacturing facilities.

Chris Roush
Chris Roush
Chris Roush is executive editor of Business North Carolina. He can be reached at croush@businessnc.com.

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