Top 10 companies tackling plastic waste
UK households throw away nearly 100 BILLION pieces of plastic packaging a year.
In the survey carried out by Greenpeace, 83% of the plastic waste came from food and drink packaging, with the most common item being packaging from fruit and vegetables.
Even worse, only 12% of plastic thrown away is likely to end up being recycled in the UK, with much of it ending up in landfill, incinerated or exported to other countries.
While we’re all working as individuals to reduce our plastic use and swap to sustainable alternatives, there must be a way to tackle this issue from the top down.
We’ve put together a list of some of the organisations working to either collect plastic waste or create environmentally friendly alternatives.
Here are 10 companies on a mission to tackle plastic waste, for good.
Companies rescuing plastic waste
CleanHub is protecting our oceans by empowering brands to take immediate responsibility for their plastic footprints.
The team are building a global platform for waste collection to help rescue plastic before it reaches the ocean. In a simple 1+1 principle, companies can finance the collection of low-value plastic with every product they sell.
All of CleanHub’s collection partners use their app to deliver full transparency of recovered volumes.
Location: Berlin, Germany
Founded by: Joel Tasche
When you buy an Ocean Bottle, you fund the collection of 1,000 ocean-bound plastic bottles before they enter the ocean.
Collectors in coastal communities exchange this plastic for money and get access to social resources such as healthcare, education and financial security.
The team have rescued over 5 million kgs of ocean bound plastic! Their reusable bottles are made with 90% recycled steel, ocean bound plastic and are fully recyclable.
Location: London, UK
Founded by: Will Pearson
The Ocean Cleanup
The Ocean Cleanup is a non-profit organization developing and scaling technologies to rid the oceans of plastic.
As the team puts it, to effectively solve the problem, we need to both turn off the tap and mop the floor at the same time. That’s stopping the trash flow from rivers and removing plastics from the oceans, all at once.
Their cleanup solutions include creating artificial coastlines where there are none to concentrate the plastic, plus building special vessels to collect vast quantities of plastic.
Location: Rotterdam, Holland
Founded by: Boyan Slat
Recycling Technologies modular technology can be mass-produced to recycle plastic waste into feedstock for new plastic production.
This solution can be installed at existing waste sites anywhere on the globe to help divert plastic waste away from landfill, incineration and leaking into our environment.
Chemical recycling provides additional options to mechanical recycling and can significantly increase recycling capacity, contributing to solving a global plastic pollution crisis.
Location: Swindon, UK
Founded by: Adrian Griffiths
The River Cleanup
The River Cleanup team set up cleanups, raise awareness in schools and organisations, plus deploy technologies that automatically capture river waste.
Their mission is to free our rivers and riverbanks of waste with helping hands and smart technologies, while changing people's behaviour.
Together, they aim to collect 100,000,000 kg of river plastics by 2025 and activate people in the fight against plastic pollution!
Location: Antwerp, Belgium
Founded by: Thomas de Groote
Companies creating sustainable plastic alternatives
Notpla is a revolutionary material made from seaweed and plants. It biodegrades in four to six weeks, naturally.
No micro-plastics, no waste for centuries. Unlike PLA, it is home compostable and doesn’t contaminate PET recycling.
The team have used Notpla to create sustainable (and edible) packaging for liquids, like Oohos, which have been used at marathons and other sporting events. Notpla can also be used as a coating in order to make food containers fully biodegradable.
Location: London, UK
Founded by: Pierre-Yves Paslier
Polymateria provides a tailored biodegradable solution for conventional plastic packaging, aiming to stem the global plastic pollution endemic.
Lyfecycle is the world’s first fully recyclable and biodegradable plastic technology.
Lyfecycle is microplastic and toxin free and can be used to replace traditional plastics used to create clingfilm, shrink wrap, food and drink packaging and more.
Location: London, UK
Founded by: Jonathan Sieff
When Suvi Haimi and Laura Tirkkonen-Rajasalo looked around their bathrooms, they both saw the same thing: a problem. Aware of the ever-growing amounts of single-use plastic that fills our lives and seas, they set out to find a solution.
As biochemists specializing in biomaterials, Suvi and Laura came up with a sustainable alternative to plastic.
Sulapac® is both beautiful and functional. Like nature. It biodegrades fully without leaving permanent microplastics behind. It is now used by brands like Chanel, The BIRD Collective and more.
Location: Helsinki, Finland
Flexi-Hex on a mission to make sustainability sustainable through an innovative and thoughtfully designed packaging solution: the Flexi-Hex® sleeve.
Their patented honeycomb design is made from paper that helps protect the products inside and our planet. Not only is it 100% plastic free, but it composts within six weeks.
They’ve prevented over 3,166km of plastic being created by the packaging industry. Flexi-Hex was certified as a B Corp in February 2022.
Location: Cornwall, UK
Shellworks believe there is a better way to package products. After two years of experimentation and testing, they have launched Vivomer.
Vivomer is a completely vegan and compostable material, made with a little help from friendly microbes.
Designed to degrade, Vivomer won’t leave behind any microplastics. At the end of life, microbes abundant in soil and marine environments consume the material.
Location: London, UK
Want to find a job where you can help fight plastic pollution? Head over to Jobs For Good to find a role where you can really make an impact.