What are your specific products and in what form are they delivered to customers?
Di Mondo: We can tailor the properties of our products to the needs of our end customers and applications. Currently, we offer three additives based on polyethylene and one additive based on polypropylene. We also commissioned a new line this year to produce novel styrene polymers from discarded polystyrene products (for example, expanded polystyrene insulation, coffee lids, foam peanuts, etc.) and expect to have these new materials commercially available next year.
These products are delivered to customers in bags or supersacks via rail, truck, and, in the case of international customers, via sea freight.
How do your products compare to alternatives?
Di Mondo: Our products are low molecular weight polymers which serve as additives/processing aids. Other companies produce low molecular weight polymers (sometimes referred to as waxes) from prime/virgin resins, i.e., petrochemical feedstocks. Those companies are going in the opposite direction by taking petro-based monomer and building them up from small to larger chains. We do the opposite, we take a polymer and break it at specific points to make it smaller. This allows us to achieve certain properties that cannot be realized from the traditional process, and this is one of the reasons our products don’t force customers to sacrifice end-product performance in order to achieve processing speed/efficiency and vice versa.
Of course, competitive products produced via the petrochemical route rely on consumption of finite natural resources. GreenMantra creates products from waste plastics, and therefore our products are fully sustainable and contribute to the circular economy—and are also available for our customers to declare recycled content.
Who are your customers? And how do they use your products?
Di Mondo: We can classify our current customers into two broad groups (1) industrial manufacturers utilizing bitumen/asphalt and (2) plastic manufacturers using polyethylene or polypropylene.
If we consider the first group of customers, we work with companies at every part of the asphalt value chain – from the refiner who receives bitumen from the production of crude oil – all the way to the companies who are manufacturing asphalt shingles or roads.
A notable case study can be seen in the Discovery Channel explains how GreenMantra has partnered with companies like Crayola to recycle discarded plastic markers and convert them into additives that are used by Malarkey, a major roofing product manufacturer, to make its products. The company highlights "Repurposed Polymers from Reclaimed Plastic and Synthetic Rubber” on their website, and they promote their product third-party certification (GreenCircle) for sustainability, which our product helps enable.
Similarly, we work with companies across the value chain. So a second group of customers are plastic processors from compounders to masterbatch producers all the way to converters. There’s no doubt that you have heard about the commitments from the majority of the world’s largest brands to increase the recycled content used in their end products. As these companies work to achieve these recycled content goals, it's common knowledge that they begin to struggle reaching higher levels of recycled plastic. These challenges are due to the fact that recycled plastics aren’t always perfect, and the inherent variability of recyclate slows down manufacturers’ processes and/or causes performance issues in the final products.
This is where GreenMantra’s materials come into play. At a very small level—of just 1-5%—our products allow manufacturers to regain their manufacturing speed and enhance the end properties of their products. This is unheard of in the plastic industry; almost always, when formulators use an additive to enhance processing capabilities or to strengthen the end product, they are forced to sacrifice in the other area. We defy that model. And because our products are derived from discarded plastics, we are also contributing to the overall recycled content of the end product.
In a nutshell, across all of our customer base, GreenMantra products help manufacturers improve performance of their products, increase process efficiency and reduce formulation costs. We achieve all of this while also enhancing the sustainability profile of our customers’ end products.
Next: Packaging—and what’s ahead