A British company, Polymateria, has developed a new masterbatch technology called biotransformation that ensures true biodegradation for plastic that escapes into the natural environment. Polymateria have announced that Planet First Partners has invested £15 million and the company also welcomes a number of new high profile board members.
Marc Bolland, former Marks & Spencer CEO, joins the company as chairman. Marc who won the accolade of World Sustainable Retailer of the year three times while chief executive officer at Marks & Spencer.
Planet First Partners (PFP) is a long term impact investment platform led by Frédéric de Mévius. Frédéric is former Verlinvest founder, CEO and chairman and joins the board. Additionally, Simon Susman, another World Sustainable Retailer of the year winner and former CEO and chairman of Woolworths Holdings and chairman of Virgin Active Holdings, joins Frédéric on Polymateria’s board.
Polymateria has recently achieved a major global first on biodegradability. On a range of the most littered forms of packaging – polyethylene and polypropylene – an independent third party laboratory testing has achieved 100% biodegradation on a rigid plastic container in 336 days and film material in 226 days. This was done in real world ‘mesophilic’ conditions. The process needed no industrial composting facilities and left zero microplastics behind, nor did it cause any environmental harm in the process.
Additionally, the technology has also been proven at independent labs to have no impact on relevant recycling streams at scale. In order to enable this Biotransformation can be time controlled, according to a product’s shelf life, and given a ‘recycle by’ date to promote recycling to consumers. It can therefore be used by manufacturers to make totally recyclable and biodegradable products such as cups, bottles, fruit packaging, dairy pots and hot food containers.
The new funds will allow Polymateria to significantly expand its global footprint, including its laboratories at Imperial College London’s I-HUB and rapidly grow its research and development team of polymer scientists, chemists and biologists from around the world, as well as increasing capacity in prototyping facilities, manufacturing and sales to meet significant demand for its technology in the market.
‘We evaluated many technologies in this space and recognised Polymateria’s as completely unique technology, underpinned by third party testing and data and, by design, with great potential to scale up quickly without significant capital cost to industry,’ said Frédéric de Mévius of Planet First Partners (PFP).
‘Biodegradable solutions have faltered in the past, largely due to the creation of microplastic, lack of compatibility with recycling systems and confusion from consumers around the recycling of packaging. Biotransformation tackles all three issues,’ said Niall Dunne, CEO at Polymateria. ‘Our team is already benefitting from this investment and wealth of experience, and we are excited to move forward at pace to deliver on our plans for exponential growth to tackle the plastic crisis.’
This latest announcement comes after Polymateria secured two separate research grants from Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation, funded by the UK government. The total of over £1 million was granted to Polymateria to develop the first Biotransformation technology for PET (Polyethylene terephthalate) and the first petro-plastic that meets international standards for both home and industrial composting.
Polymateria - https://www.polymateria.com
Planet First Partners - http://www.planetfirst.partners
Innovate UK - https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/innovate-uk