In our ongoing series, “America’s Change Makers,” we shine a spotlight on Eric, a visionary co-founder of Nexus Circular. He was at the forefront of a movement where an increasing number of companies sought used plastics to recycle into new plastics, addressing the growing demand for recycled content in packaging.
Amidst our nation’s aging recycling systems and technologies that struggle to keep pace, Nexus has stood as a beacon of hope. Alongside Jeff, Eric helped leverage an advanced recycling process that could recover and transform a sizable portion of plastics that would otherwise end up in landfills – to meet demand, protect the environment, and keep plastics circulating within the economy.
“So many consumer-packaged goods companies have said, ‘We want recycled content in our packaging.’ There’s a huge need for that material.” – Eric, Co-Founder of Nexus Circular
Pyrolysis-based advanced recycling, the technology that Eric’s company employs, goes beyond conventional “mechanical” recycling. By converting used plastics into their molecular components, Nexus provides partners with the raw materials needed to create new plastics. This innovative approach enables them to handle many difficult-to-recycle plastics that mechanical recycling could not address effectively, which contributes to the growing interest in to widely commercialize and scale advanced recycling technologies.
“We take those used plastics, and we convert them into their molecular components. And that is what we then sell to our partners. They feed it into their systems and make new plastics.” – Eric, Co-Founder of Nexus Circular
As a co-founder of Nexus Circular, Eric was determined to tackle over 90% of plastics that currently evaded recycling. He took considerable pride in his company’s discovering an economically viable and scalable solution to address this significant problem. By continually refining their process and harnessing the power of pyrolysis—a heat-driven transformation in the absence of oxygen—Eric’s team unlocked the potential to reconstitute plastics into their original molecular makeup, reducing the need for virgin resources and decreasing environmental impact.
“We’ve created a new pathway for pyrolysis, which frankly, has been around since the 60s. But we’re doing it in a way that’s economic and scalable. Pyrolysis is heat in the absence of oxygen. In essence, we are taking plastics, and through heat, we are converting them back to their original kind of molecular makeup. And in so doing, we allow that then to be reformulated into new plastics.” – Eric, Co-Founder of Nexus Circular
Eric’s dedication went beyond his role as a business leader. He actively engaged in educating others about the immense potential of advanced recycling, dispelling misconceptions, and clarifying its distinct nature from incineration processes. He passionately believed that the circularity inherent in advanced recycling represented a true innovation in sustainability, and he was driven by the desire to make the world a better place for future generations.
“Some people confuse what’s being done in advanced recycling with things like burning plastics. What we do has nothing to do with incineration processes that involve combustion. With combustion if you light a match, there’s oxygen in the air, that’s why it burns. We have no flame, no oxygen, no burning that’s going on. We are in essence adding heat to the plastic and convert it without combustion.” – Eric, Co-Founder of Nexus Circular
Nexus Circular’s remarkable growth has been a testament to their success in addressing the plastic challenge in the United States and beyond. Eric and his team are revolutionizing plastic recycling on a global scale, attracting significant investments and partners to scale advanced recycling.
“We have multiple plants in the U.S. and other parts of the world in our development pipeline. And we are really addressing the U.S. plastic problem in a way that assures people that this is a viable technology. All those things equal success. When you’re attracting the kind of investment that’s been made in our company, that’s a success story. When you’re attracting the global partners that we have attracted , that’s a success story.” – Eric, Co-Founder of Nexus Circular
In recognizing Eric’s leadership and his unwavering commitment to creating a better future through advanced recycling, we celebrate his dedication amongst the collective efforts of all those who represent Nexus Circular. Eric has helped to reinforce the notion that sustainable change is within our grasp when innovation, education, and environmental responsibility are intertwined.
Join us in applauding Eric as a pioneer within circular economy and for his help to inspire generations to come. In our final installment, we continue to feature the remarkable journeys of Nexus Circular’s Change Makers who are propelling a sustainable revolution in the plastic industry.