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Plastic focused startup looks to build a sustainable future

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by Startacus Admin

Plastech Innovation is a startup on a mission to reduce the plastic waste entering our natural environment...

plastech innovation logoWhen we featured BioCellection, we said that an estimated 91% of plastic waste does not get recycled. Given the amount of plastic we use every day, that is a massive amount of un-recycled plastic.

There are various reasons for this lack of recycling. Surface contamination can cause the markets to which they’re sold to say no, so even the slightest food residue and grease can mean the plastic doesn’t get recycled. Even colour additives in the plastic can make its makeup too inconsistent to be recycled. Instead, these plastics go to a landfill, an incinerator, or get dumped into the ocean, where they are responsible for the death of marine life.

At the current rate, there will be 4 lorry-loads of plastic dumped into the ocean every minute by 2050.

PlastechA Durham-based startup and soon to be spin-out from Durham University, Plastech Innovation is developing a solution to reduce the volume of plastic waste entering our natural environment.

Their idea is similar to BioCellection, except that rather than breaking plastics down into chemicals, they are processing it for use in construction using their expertise in material science and nanotechnology. The idea is to replace the heavy aggregates in concrete and other construction materials with this plastic aggregate, which is lighter-weight, eco-friendly, and thermally insulating.

plastech innovationThis process is beneficial to everyone involved. The plastic is sourced from waste management companies, who save money and improve their environmental impact as they become more eco-friendly. Construction companies save on transportation costs, not least of all because of how much lighter the plastic aggregate is compared to current aggregates, and also improve their reputation as environmentally-conscious companies, an important thing to be in an increasingly eco-aware society.

We can’t pretend to know whether the savings will carry through to the end consumer who buys the new construction, but if they’re less likely to see a dead whale the next time they visit the beach, we’d call that a benefit.

In January, Plastech was invited onto the first cohort for the Durham City Incubator, and just a few months later they went through to the final of Shell LiveWIRE and were announced the winners of Bright SCIdea 2019. At the end of April, they were announced as the winners of that Shell LiveWIRE Smarter Future Award and the £5k to go with it. Most recently, they have made it through to the finals of the Durham University Blueprint Competition, and we wish them luck!

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Published on: 5th May 2019

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