The Prince of Wales sees new solution to plastic pollution at White City Campus


The Prince of Wales in Polymateria's lab

The Prince of Wales in Polymateria's lab

The Prince of Wales toured Polymateria’s laboratories at Imperial’s White City Incubator to learn how the company is developing biodegradable plastics

Polymateria are developing innovative “biotransformation” technology that can alter the properties of plastic to make it biodegradable. This would allow discarded plastic products and packaging to break down naturally over time, rather than polluting the environment.

The Prince of Wales unveils a plaque at Polymateria's LaboratoriesThe company aims to set a new standard in compostable and biodegradable plastics. Their products are recyclable, and break down only when needed after the product has reached the end of its lifespan.

During the visit, The Prince of Wales also met with members of the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership along with the British Standards Institute and the Waste & Resources Action Programme to understand their views on how technologies like this can help address plastic pollution at scale.

At our White City Campus, we are building a dynamic innovation ecosystem that turns cutting edge research into benefits for society Professor Alice Gast President of Imperial College London

Several Imperial-founded startups met with the Prince of Wales, including DnaNudge - who have developed an app that uses shoppers’ DNA to help them make healthier choices while food shopping, FreshCheck - inventors of colour change products that indicate the presence of harmful bacteria, and CustoMem - who are developing a new biomaterial which can capture and recycle hazardous micro pollutants found in industrial wastewater.

Speaking about the visit, Niall Dunne, CEO of Polymateria, said: “Our team were delighted to welcome His Royal Highness to our laboratories as we share His Royal Highness’s view that so many of our biggest environmental challenges can be better tackled by deepening our understanding of nature.

“Indeed our Biotransformation technology has been developed here in Britain through biologists, polymer scientists and chemists working together but “back from nature” to create a new standard in biodegradability that will address our most visible environmental challenge.”

Supporting pioneering businesses

Polymateria’s laboratories are based at Imperial College London’s White City Campus in the Imperial Incubator, which provides office, laboratory space and support for early-stage companies.

The Prince of Wales and Professor Alice Gast
The Prince of Wales and Professor Alice Gast, President of Imperial

The 18,000 sq ft incubator, at the College’s White City Campusopened in October 2016. Since then it has created more than 100 jobs and attracted over £85m of investment. It is based at the I-HUB – a flagship building which aims to drive forward the commercialisation and translation of research and innovation for the benefit of society.

Professor Alice Gast, President of Imperial College London, said: “At our White City Campus, we are building a dynamic innovation ecosystem that turns cutting edge research into benefits for society. Polymateria truly embodies this vision. Their pioneering technology is tackling one the most important challenges of our time. We are proud to count them among our community at White City.”


Deborah Evanson

Deborah Evanson
Communications Division

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