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Singapore VC Raises $106M To Reduce Ocean Plastic Pollution

Amit Nag

Circulate Capital, an investment management firm based in Singapore has raised $106 million for its mission to prevent or reduce plastic pollution in Asian oceans, according to a report by Nikkei Asian Review.

What Happened

The problem of plastic waste management recently came into limelight, thanks to social media and increased public awareness about the topic, said Rob Kaplan, the CEO of Circulate Capital. This helped Rob to raise $106 million for plastic waste management.

"I've worked in the space for 10-15 years, and I've never seen a shift like this happen in such a short period of time," said Rob in an interview with Nikkei Asian Review.

When people see disturbing pictures of dead animals as a result of plastic pollution, they could finally understand the urgent need for tacking plastic waste.

"There's one thing that's true about environmental issues is that people don't really care until animals are involved . . . there's a lot of emotional imagery involved in this topic," added Rob.

What It Matters

Nearly 8 million tons of plastic is dumped into the world’s oceans every year, according to a report by National Geographic. And nearly 60% of those originate from Asia.

Circulate Capital plans to invest the $106 funding to local waste management companies that are already fighting against the plastic waste problem. The company has identified certain companies to invest to, said Rob to Nikkei Asian Review.

What’s Next

Rob’s initial focus would be to resolve the seemingly minor waste management issues.

"There are lots of sexy things out there, like alternative materials . . . but really what we're talking about is 8 million tons of plastic getting into the ocean because it's not being collected or managed properly," said Rob to Nikkei Asian Review. "We can cut that in half by investing in those fundamentals of collection, sorting and processing."


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