Microbes in water break down the compound without leaving behind toxins or microplastics
Spotted: According to the United Nations’ 2022 Sustainable Development Goals Report, in 2021, over 17 million metric tonnes of plastic entered our ocean. And if we continue producing and consuming plastic-based materials at our current rate, this figure could triple by 2040.
Exacerbating the waste problem is the fact that around half of all the plastic produced is designed to be used only once. But now, female-founded cleantech startup Solutum believes it has a new solution for single-use plastic pollution.
Even though the vast majority of single-use packaging will only be required for a few hours at most in its lifetime, it has nonetheless been designed with unnecessary durability, taking hundreds of years to break down fully.
Solutum’s flexible packaging materials, by contrast, will break down at a pre-determined temperature and after a pre-determined time to ensure that packaging only survives for as long as needed.
Taking advantage of naturally occurring biochemical processes, the startup’s materials are broken down by natural microbes in water and turned into carbon dioxide, water, and biomass, without releasing toxins or microplastics.
The company has already partnered with Colgate-Palmolive to create biodegradable polybags for dentists and soap wraps. Solutum’s potential has also been recognised by other big names, including AB InBev (Corona), CBC Group, and Zaraplast.
Written By: Matthew Hempstead