New additive makes plastic harmless

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A special ingredient has been discovered that makes normal plastic biodegrade into harmless components in less than a year.

Developed by materials company Polymateria, the substance is added easily in the manufacturing process, with no need for a major overhaul of production lines. Then, rather than breaking down into microplastics, the plastic breaks down into natural elements like oxygen.

Polymateria was developed at Imperial College London. The company, chaired by former Marks & Spencer CEO Mark Bolland, has already won Puma as a customer. The sportswear brand is incorporating Polymateria into 160m plastic bags, according to The Sunday Times. It is understood that Polymateria has also been incorporated into products being sold in the UK, Portugal, Spain, Kenya and Taiwan, with the company in talks with manufacturers in China and the USA.

Frederic de Mevius is part-owner of the Anheuser-Busch InBev global brewing conglomerate, and a director of Polymateria. He told The Sunday Timesthat, “Within two to five years we will be supplying 20 to 50 of the largest brands that are responsible for plastic pollution”.


21 Silver Linings