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BANGKOK/LONDON - Indorama Ventures (IVL) and technology specialist Polymateria Limited have signed an exclusive 10-year partnership to help household brands bring biodegradable nonwoven hygiene products to the market through biotransformation technology.

This collaboration aims to provide a new solution for dealing with essential items like facemasks and wipes once they have been used, ensuring they can return safely to nature without leaving behind any microplastics or toxic residue. It is specifically designed to tackle plastic leaking into the environment as unmanaged waste, meaning it is neither collected for landfill nor recycled. Given that most of the plastic in our oceans originates as unmanaged waste on land, addressing the unmanaged waste challenge is key. This partnership aims to do just that for essential hygiene items.

IVL’s exclusive right to use Polymateria’s unique biotransformation technology for nonwovens supports application in non-virgin resin recycling while providing a solution for ‘fugitive’ used articles, especially those items that end up in the natural environment. This biotransformation process involves the plastic transforming into a bioavailable wax in the open terrestrial environment, whereupon the wax is fully consumed by bacteria, microbes and fungi, leaving just carbon dioxide, water, and biomass. The pulp component is inherently biodegradable under similar conditions.

Welcoming the collaboration, Yash Lohia, chairman of IVL’s ESG Council, said: “I am delighted with this 10-year partnership. After an extensive search and technical due-diligence process, Polymateria’s technology is clearly a step above solutions of the past and fits very well with IVL’s sustainability strategy. I look forward to seeing these products on supermarket shelves in the future, hopefully being marketed by some of the biggest brands in the world.”

Shachar Rachim, CEO of IVL’s Hygiene Business, added: “This is a great example of where technically focused companies work together on a common challenge, using their respective technologies in synergy to achieve a unique, and valuable, product proposition. It’s a positive direction for the market.”

Nonwovens made by IVL using Polymateria’s technology have been independently tested against, and meet the criteria in, the BSI PAS 9017 standard for the biodegradation of polyolefins in an open-air terrestrial environment published by the British Standards Institution in October 2020. This standard and/or its criteria – the first in the world to ensure plastic can biotransform in the open terrestrial environment without creating any microplastics – is being adopted around the world including in India, Malaysia, the Philippines and Hungary.

Polymateria CEO Niall Dunne said: “Polymateria was founded to help tackle plastic pollution at scale. Through our latest partnership with IVL, this is exactly what we are delivering. I am glad we have found long-term partners who share our commitment to science and evidence.”


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