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Packaging Insights lands US$10.5M to scale “seamless marketplace solution” for PCR purchasing lands US$10.5M to scale “seamless marketplace solution” for PCR purchasing

29 Mar 2024 — Digital platform has secured US$10.5 million to expand its database of PCR materials and its accompanying platform that streamlines buying and selling these items.

The company underscores that sustainability and procurement teams have historically been “plagued by the fragmented nature of the PCR market,” which has resulted in ongoing issues and inconsistencies with price, quality, availability and access.

Circular provides access to over 9,000 global suppliers with over 50,000 PCR technical records codified using AI, including details such as price, specifications and volume of materials, along with supplier certifications.

“In a nascent, highly fragmented PCR market,’s platform can help address existing supply shortages. As brands increasingly prioritize sustainability, Circular offers a seamless marketplace solution to purchase PCR reliably,” says Artur Faria, CEO of Oxygea, a Circular user.

“Circular is poised to solve some of the unique requirements of the industry.”

Investor pedigree
The financing of the “sustainable sourcing platform” includes a new US$5.3 million round, backed by Maniv, Oxygea and Eclipse. It follows a US$5.2 million seed round led by Eclipse.

Circular plans to use the funding to grow its team, expand to additional sustainable materials like paper and metals, add more companies and suppliers internationally, and “deepen the scale and functionality” of its platform.

“Many of the global Fortune 500 have set aggressive targets to use up to 50% ‘recycled resin in the coming three to five years,” says Eclipse partner Aidan Madigan-Curtis.

“Globally, we manufacture north of 400 million tons of plastic goods per year, which will require not only a mind-bending amount of PCR to source, but a complete overhaul of the supply chains and manufacturing processes used to procure plastic in order to meet these targets,” he elaborates.

“In a world where procurement and product teams are expected to reimagine their supply chains almost overnight, Circular is the only single-pane-of-glass solution that can streamline the vendor identification, supplier qualification, specification standardization, quality assurance and logistics to create consistency of supply, price and quality to make PCR possible.”

Plastic packaging wasteCircular provides access to over 9,000 global PCR suppliers with over 50,000 PCR technical records codified using AI.Streamlined transparency and sourcing
Circular touts “visibility and transparency” as an answer to a “disjointed, opaque and illiquid” industry. The company handles the searching, sourcing, vetting and onboarding process for its customers, with “results in days compared to months or even years,” using analog methods.

The newly-enhanced platform includes new features such as:

  • “Explore” — The “first self-serve tool” to see what PCR materials are available at specific specifications and prices anywhere in the world.
  • “Search” — A portal where buyers can connect directly with suppliers through digital custom quotes.
  • “Procure” — Helping buyers with everything from testing and onboarding and contracting to carbon footprinting and freight.

“Buyers transitioning to recycled materials face the typical challenges of an emerging, analog market rife with inefficiency and a lack of transparency. They can’t find the material they need, and if they can find it, it’s too expensive — and if they can afford it, there are often quality or consistency issues,” stresses Ian Arthurs, founder and CEO of Circular.

“Existing relationship-driven systems fail to provide the information necessary for buyers to make fast informed decisions, and on the flip side, suppliers have a hard time being discovered by and getting access to serious buyers. Circular unblocks these common issues using data and technology to help buyers and sellers navigate the global market efficiently,” he says.

“Armed with our data, buyers and suppliers make faster and smarter business decisions and simplify their process to get sustainable materials into production now.”

Highlights from 2023
In Q4 2023 alone, Circular sourced 35,000 metric tons of post-consumer recycled material with a reported US$43 million gross merchandise value, while supporting nine global brands across four continents and saving companies “on average more than 10% versus market price.”

“The vast majority of PCR pricing came in under virgin plastic index prices, thus breaking the commonly-held belief that there is always a green premium in PCR,” details the company.

Yogurt giant Danone is listed among Circular’s clientele. Marcu Alexander, manager of packaging sustainability at Danone, states: “Increasing the use of post-consumer recycled plastics in particular is critical to meeting our ESG goals.”

“Large manufacturers need more efficient ways to navigate new PCR markets and Circular is taking an innovative approach there.”

Circular’s latest funding follows recent company momentum, including several notable hires.

Circular has brought on notable industry leaders, Shannon Gordon, former vice president of Customer Experience at Walmart Global eCommerce, and Rob Lanelli, founder of Oceanworks, to help reach the company’s goal of “transitioning the US$600 billion plastics market to circularity.”

By Benjamin Ferrer

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