The report by the changemakers helps to highlight the dangers of global warming and calls for leading businesses to take responsibility for contributing to the climate crisis.
Matthew Stone, Managing Director at Teysha Technologies, a biopolycarbonate research platform, shares how investing in biodegradable polymer substitutes could lead to the end of single-use plastics for good.
According to National Geographic, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which spans from the west coast of North America to Japan, contains 1.8 trillion plastic pieces. While oil and gas goliaths such as Sinopec and ExxonMobil are thought to produce more than 5% of the worlds single-use plastics. Banking giants HSBC and Barclays Bank are now being held accountable for lending over $3 billion each to producers of virgin polymer.
These companies must take responsibility for their colossal plastic waste footprints and start to invest in cheaper, more durable, and genuinely sustainable, greener alternatives. The question is, how can this be achieved?
Matthew Stone of Teysha Technologies says: “It is evident that plastic production damages our environment, so why do we continue to produce it? The simple answer is that it is low-cost, durable, and malleable, making it a suitable material for use in industrial and consumer products.
Sadly, all these alleged positives equal a negative, and that’s the fact that it doesn’t degrade naturally. Plastic can take an unbelievable timeframe to degrade of its own accord, certainly not in our lifetimes without the help of greenhouse gas-producing industrial catalysts and releasing harmful chemical pollutants.”
Every stage of the plastic lifecycle contributes considerably to global warming and the climate crisis. For example, fracking leaks thousands of tonnes of harmful gases into the atmosphere every day. According to National Geographic, 540,000 tonnes of methane is produced in the North Texas Barnett Shale region alone every year. This is the equivalent of 46 million tonnes of carbon dioxide being released into the environment.
Matthew Stone says: “At present, the fracked oil to make plastic is only at 14%; this is expected to continue to rise over the coming decades due to our reliance on the material. To make a difference, companies must focus on less destructive materials such as biodegradable and sustainable polymers, which can serve the same purpose but are far less damaging to the environment than traditional plastic.”
Investing funds into research to help drive change is the answer to zero-waste plastic and a greener, safer future for us all. If the global banks invested even half of their funding into green initiatives, we would be further along in the fight against global warming. Thankfully, companies like Teysha Technologies are making landmark breakthroughs in viable plastic substitutes. Thanks to funding and research into developing biodegradable biopolymers, the research is delivering excellent results.
Teysha Technologies developed a platform where modified natural monomers, co-monomers and additives can combine to produce versatile, tunable materials comparable to traditional plastic. The platform uses various natural components, so the strength, thermal stability and degradation rates can all be controlled according to the application.
Many petrochemical-derived polycarbonates reach versatility through molar mass control, crystallinity and blending with other potentially toxic petrochemicals. The residual materials can remain in the environment for over 450 years, which can cause irreparable damage to organisms and their ecosystems. Diverting the funding from virgin plastic production and instead toward biodegradable biopolymer production, it could be possible to reverse the damage caused by climate change.
The companies named in the Plastic Waste Makers Index Report should lead the charge on these changes. If each one of them were to stop their drilling and redirect that destructive energy into the search for sustainable plastics, the world could one day become the healthier, greener carbon-neutral place we know it could be.
Teysha Technologies have created a patented, renewable, fully biodegradable plastic substitute, using waste from landfills to create polymers for hundreds of different applications.
As Managing Director, Matthew Stone works with a team of specialists at Teysha Technologies, who after more than a decade of research, have managed to create and develop Teysha’s unique solutions to plastic pollution.
The platform developed by Teysha and its team of globally renowned research scientists and the best commercialisation specialists in the UK, creates a range of polymers that fulfil the criteria of sustainability. Sectors such as packaging, medical equipment and construction can benefit from Teysha’s innovative technology, which produces environmentally friendly plastics as a viable, practical alternative to polycarbonates.