We are all aware that oceans are the lifeline of our planet.
When Adam Root first started out mapping all the ways plastic enters the ocean, he found that the largest proportion by a nautical mile is microplastic. After researching what was being done about it it transpired that the answer was: very little. Once microplastics get into waterways and the ocean it’s technically very difficult to remove. Keen to help solve this issue, he invented Gulp.
Gulp is a sustainable solution to stopping microplastic pollution that empowers people to make a real difference. It’s the first highly efficient microplastic filter that can be retrofitted to existing washing machines without the use of disposable cartridges or replaceable components.
Adam took five minutes out of his day to speak to Business Matters about his journey and business beliefs.
What products or services do you provide?
Matter is an innovation company pioneering technology solutions for capturing, harvesting and recycling microplastics. Our mission is to stop microplastic pollution at source. 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. (Find out more at gulp.online)
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.
Yet, 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 and other micropollutants captured by our products to create valuable resources for new products in the circular economy. We are currently leading a number of live research projects to find sustainable methods and applications for recycling microfibres from our laundry to create a closed loop system.
What problem does your company solve?
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. Our mission at Matter is to create long-term solutions for one of the biggest challenges of our time and stop microplastic pollution at its source.
How do you ensure that you recruit a team that reflects your company values?
Culture is really important to us at Matter. Our company values are embedded into everything we do, and those are the values we look for in potential applicants. Everyone that works at Matter shares the same passion – we want to drive change and make a positive impact on our planet.
Candidates are assessed on competency for the role and their values – and they need to meet both criteria to be considered for the role. We also include a group activity – such as a team lunch – to make everyone feel part of the process and understand how the applicant interacts with the rest of the team.
The bit between an offer and starting is also really important. We stay in touch, invite them along to our socials and by the time they start they already feel part of the team!
If you could ask one thing of the government to change for businesses what would it be?
Legislative action is fundamental to deliver the scale of change needed to stop microplastic pollution. As more countries look to follow France’s lead of implementing legislation for microplastic filters to be fitted into washing machines, we are campaigning for the Microplastic Filter (Washing Machines) Bill with APPG. The bill proposes all new domestic and commercial washing machines in the UK to be fitted with a microplastic filter by 2025. The bill is currently entering its second hearing stage and we hope to see this drive change at the scale that is required to stop plastic pollution from laundry.