Matter is an innovation company pioneering technology solutions for capturing, harvesting and recycling microplastics. Our mission is to stop microplastic pollution at source.
What we do:
Domestic and commercial washing machines
We have developed an innovative filtration product – Gulp – that captures microplastics produced by washing machines. Gulp is the first highly efficient microplastic filter that can be retrofitted to washing machines creating zero additional waste for the entire life cycle.
As well as producing a product for existing washing machines, we are also engaged with multinational domestic appliance manufacturers to integrate the technology into washing machines to meet legislative requirements in France from 2025 and being developed internationally.
Our technology is scalable, and we are developing our filtration technology to address microplastic emissions on a commercial and industrial scale. This includes, for example, wastewater treatment plants and textile production factories.
To fully solve the global issue of microplastics in the environment, we are also developing solutions to turn microplastic fully circular. This enables us to harvest those microplastics captured by our products to create valuable resources for new products in the circular economy. We are currently leading several research projects to find sustainable methods and applications for recycling microfibres from our laundry to create a closed loop system.
How did you come up with the idea for the company?
When I started out mapping all the ways plastic enters the ocean I found that the largest proportion by a nautical mile is microplastic. I then researched what was being done about it and the answer was very little because once it gets into our waterways and into the ocean it is technically difficult to remove.
60% of all textiles are now made from plastic fibres, which get washed into our waterways, damaging the environment and ending up in our food chain. In the UK alone there’s 24 million homes each producing on average a gram of microplastic every single wash. That works out to approximately 14-16 tonnes a day of plastic going down the drain and into our ocean.
That’s why I started Matter. With the ambition to create long-term solutions for one of the biggest challenges of our time and stop microplastic pollution at its source.
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What do you think makes this company unique?
Matter was set up following Cradle to Cradle principles which means the circular economy is at the core of everything we do.
That’s why our microplastic filtration technology doesn’t have disposable cartridges and we are developing a recycling system for the plastic captured.
By having a closed loop vision, we have implemented a solution to solving the microplastics pollution problem and putting the material back to work. By looking at domestic consumer solutions, working with commercial and industrial partners, pushing for legislation, driving awareness and education, and researching solutions for the re-use of microplastics we have been able to put in place a structure that together will make a colossal difference.
How has the company evolved over the last couple of years?
Matter’s journey started when I was an Engineer working in product innovation at Dyson. I attended a series of talks organised by conservation groups in Bristol during the summer of 2017, and as a scuba diver I was left feeling shocked at the colossal environmental damage being caused by microplastic pollution and what little was being done about it. I then decided that I wanted to use my engineering skills to tackle microplastic pollution.
After that I left my job at Dyson and started my own business – a design consultancy called ‘Inheriting Earth’. I pitched and won a £250 ‘Will It Work?’ grant from the Prince’s Trust and built a rig using a bucket, wood and an old washing machine.
Four years later, Matter has 16 employees and counting. We operate out of a warehouse in Bristol with an open plan office and R&D facility.
What can we hope to see from Matter in the future?
What’s very important to us is scale. We have set out to raise awareness and prove solutions, but it is critical that these solutions are scalable. We are entering an exciting time for the company. Our domestic washing machine filter is being prepared for market launch and our technology is already being scaled up for commercial and industrial applications.
The future will soon see our solutions working in people’s homes and across industry. As we begin to scale, this allows us to continue to innovate, to continue to push the microplastic agenda, and continue to provide solutions that truly matter.