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Additive Makes Plastic Harmless

Brilliant invention likely to be a biodegradable game changer and help save the planet.

Over recent months OGN has reported on numerous initiatives that help to deal with the scourge of plastic waste, and many other processes that replace plastics with less harmful solutions, but this is the first time a product has been developed that's simply added to the plastic manufacturing process that makes the end product biodegradable.

This special ingredient is added to the manufacturing stage of plastic to create completely normal forms of plastic that can be used to make both rigid or flexible products, allowing no great overhaul of production lines or schedules.

Polymateria was developed at Imperial College London and is chaired by former Marks & Spencer CEO Mark Bolland. The firm aims to tackle the plastic problem head on, with a plan to launch their products as soon as possible in Asia, and to target the two most common types of polluting plastic polymers: polyurethane and polypropylene.

Niall Dunne, the company CEO (and ex-CEO of BT), told National Geographic that they “are testing in India, and due to launch soon, and we are talking to manufacturers in China and the USA.”

Plastics mixed with Polymateria will, within a year, eventually turn to a waxy sludge that’s harmless to plants, animals, and river systems. So, not ideal for many products, but perfect for items like plastic bags.

Vast corporations are not waiting for extensive testing to begin adding Polymateria’s special biodegrading plastic to their operations, even though the UK firm has done tests that confirm their claims that after around 226 days, a harmless wax, edible by microbes, is the only thing that will remain of something like an ice-cream wrapper if left on the side of the road.

The sportswear brand Puma will be the first to incorporate Polymateria’s plastic, adding it to a whopping 160 million plastic bags according to The Sunday Times. Other brands haven’t been revealed but reports say that Polymateria is on shelves in the UK, Portugal, Spain, Taiwan, and Kenya.

All Polymateria products come with a “recycle by” date, after which they would gradually return to nature.

If you want to dive deeper into Polymateria, here's the company's snappy and informative 2 minute explanatory video:

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