UK startup turns plastic waste into wax

Plastics dump in the Maldives

A British startup’s innovation to tackle plastic pollution by decomposing the material into a wax that’s digested by nature is making inroads in Asia.

Polymateria Ltd., which has a lab on Imperial College London’s campus, has struck a deal with a supplier to 7-Eleven in Taiwan, Polymateria Chief Executive Officer Niall Dunne said in an interview. The company has also inked a deal worth as much as $100 million to license its technology to Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics Corp., one of the world’s biggest petrochemical manufacturers.

Polymateria’s technology uses about a dozen different chemicals, including rubbers, oils and desiccants, that are added to plastic during the manufacturing process. The additives can be adjusted to create thin films that cover food products or more rigid materials to make cups or drink pouches. The products can be customized to essentially self-destruct after a certain time. The additives help break down plastic polymers and turn the plastic into a wax that’s fully digested by natural bacteria and fungi.

Hey! It’s a start.

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