California-based Novoloop has begun construction on its pilot plant in India in partnership with Aether Industries and Quebec-based Loop Industries netted funding from European investment firm Reed. | Vitte Yevhen/Shutterstock

Two North American chemical recycling companies are expanding their footprints overseas in collaboration with other firms, according to announcements from the companies this month. 

California-based Novoloop has begun construction on its pilot plant in India in partnership with Aether Industries, a chemical manufacturer, the company said in a news release. Novoloop anticipates having capacity for 70 tons annually by the end of the year, validating its technology in a real-world environment with plans to scale up from there. 

“This pilot plant is a testament to the commitment of the Novoloop team and our partners at Aether Industries to tackle the global plastic crisis,” Miranda Wang, cofounder and CEO of Novoloop, said in a written statement. “By scaling this technology, we are creating a pathway towards a truly circular world, where plastic waste becomes a valuable resource.”

Quebec-based Loop Industries, meanwhile, announced a non-binding memorandum of understanding for European investment firm Reed to invest $66 million in capital to kickstart the commercialization of Loop Industries technologies in Europe. The companies, which expect to close the transaction by April, pointed to Europe’s recycling regulations and global brands’ sustainability commitments as major factors in the move. 

“We believe that this partnership, which combines Reed’s extensive financing relationships and experience in the development of major capital projects with Loop’s innovative technology, will be invaluable in the next stage of Loop’s strategic development and maximize our opportunity to penetrate the European market,” Loop founder and CEO Daniel Solomita said in a statement. 

Chemical recycling breaks plastics down to their molecular building blocks, which proponents say can solve problems such as low plastic recycling rates and the “downcycling” that results from the cumulative weakening of plastic polymers in conventional mechanical recycling. Some environmental groups remain skeptical or outright opposed, calling it “greenwashing” that avoids other fundamental concerns over plastic. 

Loop Industries in 2022 settled a class-action lawsuit from investors who claimed the company violated federal securities law. Its partnership with Reed follows previous announcements of plant construction in Korea and France. 

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