Irish-led Polymateria raises £20m to tackle plastic pollution

2 May 2023

Image: © Microgen/

The start-up has developed a ‘self-destructing plastic’ that breaks down in one year without any microplastic or toxic residue.

Polymateria, a UK start-up making biodegradable plastics, has raised £20m to commercialise its technology and expand into new markets.

The company’s Series B funding round was co-led by private equity fund ABC Impact and sustainable chemical company Indorama Ventures.

Led by Irish native Niall Dunne, Polymateria aims to tackle the global crisis of plastic waste with a new biodegradable alternative. The company claims its “self-destructing plastic” breaks down into water, CO2 and biomass without leaving behind any microplastic or toxic residue.

Polymateria said this plastic breaks down after a year if it is not recycled first, unlike normal plastics that takes anywhere from decades to hundreds of years to fully decompose.

The new funding will be used to commercialise Polymateria’s technology 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.

“I’m tremendously excited to be embarking on the next step of Polymateria’s journey,” said Polymateria co-founder Lee Davy-Martin. “We founded Polymateria to make a real difference to one of the world’s biggest environmental challenges.

“With the backing of investors like ABC Impact and Indorama Ventures, we are well on the way to achieving our mission.”

Polymateria said its biotransformation technology can be deployed to existing manufacturing processes without any changes and is also compatible with existing recycling streams.

As part of the funding round, ABC Impact chief impact officer Sugandhi Matta has been appointed to Polymateria’s board.

“With the strength of Polymateria’s scientific underpinning and the vast scalability of its technology, we believe that the solution developed by the company can help address challenges in plastic packaging-related pollution,” Matta said.

“We look forward to helping the team expand its commercialisation reach and further generate impact at scale in Asia.”

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Leigh Mc Gowran is a journalist with Silicon Republic