London-based Polymateria has secured £20M in Series B funding to commercialise their self-destructing plastic technology and expand into new markets.

Founded in 2015, the start-up company has spent the past 8 years developing a novel plastic technology that breaks down in one year, without leaving any microplastic or toxic residue. This is a significant difference from standard plastic materials which take decades to centuries to fully decompose.

The new funding will support the company’s bid to commercialise globally, with plans to move further into existing markets and expand into new areas where plastic pollution is more “acute”, such as Asia. The start-up also plans to boost its R&D capabilities by investing into its laboratory at Imperial College London.

The plastic is formed with Polymateria’s Biotransformation technology. This is a three stage process, where the plastic product serves its useful life. In this phase, the technology remains dormant while the plastic retains all its functionalities.

Once exposed to external forces, like weathering, the technology is activated and biodegradation begins. The chemical conversion causes a rapid loss of physical properties. The more the plastic is exposed to the environment, the faster this process transforms the plastic into a bioavailable wax. This is achieved by attacking the crystalline and amorphous region of the plastic polymer structure, turning it into a wax-like material with no harm to the environment.

The third phase is the full biodegradation phase where the bioavailable wax is biologically transformed through mineralization by naturally occurring bacteria and fungi in the natural environment. The product converts into carbon dioxide, water, and biomass within 1-2 years, as verified by third party labs. This type of solution can push an increasingly plastic-focused world into a new sustainable era.

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