Microplastics start-up backed by Leonardo DiCaprio and Ashton Kutcher

Leonardo DiCaprio and Ashton Kutcher have invested millions of pounds into a UK start-up that filters microplastics from washing machines.

The start-up Matter has secured £7.86 million towards scaling its microplastic filtration technology and accelerate its roadmap of solutions for commercial and industrial washing machines.

Microplastics are tiny plastic particles less than five millimetres in size and are produced through the production and use of clothing and textiles. For each laundry cycle, up to 700,000 microplastic fibres are released from washing machines and into waterways.

An estimated 171 trillion microplastic particles currently float within our oceans, and growing research suggests that microplastics are harmful to the environment, as well as human and animal health.

Matter founder and CEO Adam Root said the start-up’s vision is to “live in a world without micropollutants.”

“We are dedicated to building the necessary tools, techniques, and scalable solutions to drive this transformation,” he added.


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Matter’s microfiltration gadget can stop microplastic and other micropollutant emissions from domestic, industrial and municipal water systems. It works by capturing the microplastics that would otherwise end in sewage sludge to be used as fertilizer or incinerated, enabling a fully circular solution.

As reported by the Telegraph, consumers can then return collected plastic waste to Matter, which will repurpose it.

The start-up wants to license its technology to large electronics companies, while also selling a new industrial-grade version to textile manufacturers.

In France, all new washing machines will need to have a microplastics filter. Campaigners in the UK are also urging Westminster to put in similar legislation.

Last year, campaigners from organisations including Greenpeace sent an open letter to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) warning that warn that more than 500,000 tonnes of microfibres are being released into the oceans every year, simply from washing clothes.

InnovationNature and the environmentNews

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