The Company

The Value Chain 

Waste created by consumers (municipal waste) is collected through collection schemes. After the waste, including plastics, has been collected, it is processed by waste separators. At their facilities, the consumer waste is separated into a number of fractions. Here, the plastics are commonly separated into PET, PE, PP and a rest fraction, of which each fraction is pressed and wrapped into bale form. Waste separators get paid per metric ton of separated plastic waste that meets quality requirements specified in the DKR norm, and simultaneously charge their clients, mechanical recyclers, for the bales of plastic they sell to them. These mechanical recyclers process the bales of plastic, and often conduct their own set of separation- and washing processes in order to increase the purity – and quality – of their incoming material. The plastic flakes are then compounded, extruded and pelletized by mechanical recyclers, resulting in the creation of a secondary raw material: regranulate. Finally, these regranulate are used by plastic processing companies as raw material for the production of new products, thereby restarting the cycle of a product’s life.

The problem

Recycling of plastic waste into high quality products, is facing obstacles created by the plurality of materials used in plastic products. Even after plastic waste has been separated, a significant percentage of unknown contaminants remains in the material, which makes reuse in high quality products difficult, due to the negative effects that contaminants have. To mitigate the negative effects of contaminations, mechanical recyclers can use various chemicals, such as compatibilizers and plasticizers, to ensure an acceptable material quality is obtained, and to minimize machine downtime.

In order to determine the extent to which the batch of plastic flakes are contaminated, recyclers often perform a range of laboratory tests. However, the methodologies used to gain insight are labor-intensive and lengthy processes that require a certain level of experience. Moreover, in most cases these tests do not provide accurate information and/or are based on a small sample which is not representative for a batch (e.g. truckload) of plastic waste.

The solution

Polytential provides mechanical recyclers real-time insight in the material composition of samples plastic flakes with the Virtual Chemist. The real-time insight in the material composition of a plastic flake sample, the quality of the material and the applicability of a particular batch, decreases the uncertainty mechanical recyclers have with regards to the quality of their incoming material. All plastic flakes are scanned individually using a hyperspectral camera, after which the data is processed by our unique Artificial Intelligence algorithm that determines the plastic type of every individual flake and thereby the composition of the plastic flake sample as a whole. The Virtual Chemist processes large samples of plastic flakes in an automated way, thereby reducing labor-intense processes without requiring any expertise to perform the analysis. This combination of an analysis of large and representative samples and a very high accuracy, takes away all risks that mechanical recyclers face due to uncertainties in their material input.

Our mission

Our mission is to solve societal and environmental problems through innovation at an international scale, applying artificial intelligence on sensor data.

We envision a future in which plastics can be re-used in high quality applications again and again, closing the loop definitively. We believe that by providing stakeholders with in depth information on material quality and composition, the recycling industry can become more data driven and thereby more successful at producing high quality products from recycled plastic waste.

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Polytential is featured in ‘Duurzame bedrijfsleven’

Our company is mentioned as one of five companies that actively combat plastic soup and consider plastic waste as a valuable resource. You can read the article here (in Dutch).

Visit us at PRSE 2019

Polytential will launch the Virtual Chemist at PRSE 2019, which takes places 10-11 April, 2019. Come visit us at booth A11!

Polytential is granted Take-off 2 instrument

With the support of Prof. dr. Peter Rem from the Resources and Recycling department of the Technical University of Delft, Polytential secures the Take-off 2 instrument. This enables us to finish development and get ready for market entry.

Polytential is featured in Recycling International

An article about the future of recycling, by Prof. Dr. Peter Rem, features Polytential. You can read it here (subscription required).

Rabobank Innovation Fund supports demo campaign

Polytential has received the support from the Rabobank Innovation Fund for performing pilots with customers and to speed up the development.

Province South-Holland supports development through MIT R&D project

Polytential has successfully applied for a MIT R&D project. This grant is provided by the Province of South Holland to support the development of the Virtual Chemist.

Polytential has secured Take-off 1 grant

In cooperation with the department of Pattern recognition & Bioinformatics from the Technical University of Delft, Polytential has been granted a feasibility project. This grant is provided by NWO TTW and enables us to further develop our prototype, perform field tests and continuously approach new customers.


Polytential is located in Yes!Delft, on the TU Delft campus.