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A Step Forward for the Circular Economy: Polymateria Open-sources Recyclability Data to Show First Plastic Material to Be Both Recyclable and Biodegradable

Polymateria, who in 2020 became the first company to evidence full biodegradation of plastic in the open environment, has today open-sourced data showing that its Biotransformation technology is recyclable as well as biodegradable.

Heralding a step forward in the shift to a more circular economy, polyethylene filmcontaining Polymateria’s Biotransformation technology has been shown to meet accepted industry protocol for recyclability through independent testing.

Polymateria’s technology demonstrates that the vision of a truly circular economy is possible. An economy where materials are reused or recycled as a matter of priority while allowing any items escaping the system to return to nature without causing any harm. By uniquely time-controlling when biodegradation will start, Polymateria’s technology allows time for recycling to take place before biodegradation is triggered.

Through open-sourcing its data, Polymateria invites other companies to work together to build a truly circular economy. The company is looking forward to working with plastic manufacturers, consumer brands and recyclers to unite the value chain and bring the circular economy vision to life.

Biodegradation of material containing Polymateria’s technology is verified by the British Standard Institution’s (BSI) new PAS 9017 standard for the Biodegradation of polyolefins in an open-air terrestrial environment which was launched in late 2020. The first of its kind, the standard sets a series of stringent pass/fail criteria ensuring full biodegradation with no microplastics or ecotoxicity left behind.

The open-sourced recyclability report from Impact Solutions can be found here .

Nial Dunne, CEO of Polymateria, said:

This is a good day for all those who believe in building a circular economy.

For too long, it has been assumed that biodegradable material cannot also be recycled. Our technology is changing perceptions. Products containing our technology should be recycled as a matter of priority, but any items escaping the system will return to nature at the right time without causing any harm.

As enablers of a circular economy, we invite the industry to join the growing number of partners working with us to bring a circular economy vision to life.

Dr Christopher Wallis, Polymateria SVP of Innovations, said:

I am pleased with the technical recyclability results achieved through the independent testing conducted by Impact Solutions. With these results, we can demonstrate that material containing our technology meets current industry protocol for mechanical recycling of polyolefins.

Dr Michail Kalloudis, Director of Polymer Science at Impact Solutions, said:

Our independent research clearly demonstrates that polyethele film containing Polymateria’s Biotransfromation masterbatch is recyclable within normal mechanical recycling streams. We tested the material stringently against recycling industry protocol.

Dr Simon Hepworth, Director of Enterprise at Imperial College London said:

We are delighted to see the progress being made by Polymateria, first at the White City Incubator and now within the Translation & Innovation Hub (I-HUB), joining a range of deep tech companies and remaining part of Imperial's entrepreneurial ecosystem. As a science-focused business developing technology to address global environmental challenges, we're proud to see them flourish and to continue our role in supporting Polymateria's efforts to build a circular economy.

Technical note:

  • Polyethelene film containing Polymateria’s masterbatch technology was tested by Impact Solutions, UK. The report can be accessed here .
  • Recyclability was tested and proven against the Recyclass “Recyclability Assessment Protocols for PE Films ” version 1.0 published on September 6th 2018.

About Polymateria
Polymateria’s mission is to advance science to help nature deal with the plastic pollution crisis. Born from, and now based at, Imperial College London, we’re the first company in the world to prove scientifically that you can take the most likely sources of fugitive or littered plastic and return them to nature without creating microplastics, harming the natural environment or interfering with recycling streams at scale.

The British Standards Institutions’s new BSI PAS 9017 standard ensures claims of biodegradability in the open environment can be properly verified for the first time according to independent pass/fail criteria. The Standard and Polymateria's technology were recently featured in National Geographic magazine: https://www.nationalgeographic.co.uk/environment-and-conservation/2020/11/new-self-destructing-plastic-has-helped-define-a-new-british

In 2020, Puma became the first international brand to incorporate Polymateria’s technology into its shopping bags: https://www.polymateria.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/10663-STim_Polymateria_26072020-A.pdf

Polymateria also has a partnership with international chemical giant Clariant (now Avient) to bring the technology to South-East Asia: https://www.clariant.com/en/Corporate/News/2019/10/Clariant-and-Polymateria-launch-partnership-to-bring-new-Biotransformation-technology-to-market-in-S

Pour Les Femmes, the ethical brand founded by actor/activitist Robin Wright and designer Karen Fowler, is the first apparel brand to introduce Polyamteria’s technology into its packaging: https://pourlesfemmes.com/blogs/blog

The company is proud to be a founding signatory of HRH The Prince of Wales’ Terra Carta (Earth Charter) established under the Sutainanble Markets Initiative.

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