OEN meeting on sustainable start-ups

May 8, 2007

Amy Stork from’s Portland’s Office of Sustainability made the introductions and pointed out that they are becoming more focused on economic development.

Steve Senders, VP planning for Trellis Earth. Product, made from corn based bio-plastic, replaces take out containers (plates and utensils at event were made by them). Company has been in business for about six months and has raised $250K in seed funding.

The problem: obvious. Plastic lasts for hundreds/thousands of years in landfills. Restaurants and grocery stores are big opportunities. For example, San Francisco recently banned plastic bags. Portland is considering doing the same.

First set of products are “simple” (forks, plates). Products are manufactured in China. Other option is to import granules made in China to use in manufacture of other “plastic” based products.

Chris Ulum, CEO of Plas2Fuel based in Kelso, Washington. Takes “mixed-waste” used plastics and converts to petroleum. Founded in March 2004. April 2006 raised $300K in seed and more recently raised $600K. Completed second revision of technology involving far more automation. Looking for another round of funding.

Approach is based on locating processing technology close to source of plastic rather than re-shipping the plastic. The plastic that is used is low value non-recyclable plastic (22% of landfill space is taken up with this type of plastic).

Output can be refined into fuel.

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