Using microbes to eat plastic and produce chemicals

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This article originally appeared on Ashoka Changemakers

Ambercycle makes microbes that can eat plastic instead of throwing them away. Our microbes produce chemicals when fed plastic. These chemicals are the raw materials for polyesters. By starting with waste plastic instead of oil, we can make cheaper raw materials for polyester manufacturing that are 100% renewably sourced.

It wasn't till after hundreds of hours were spent in the lab that we identified a unique pathway that can make special microbes metabolize plastic. We are determined to solve the problems facing polyester materials and won't stop working until we do.

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Ashoka insight

We are addressing 2 problems. The first is inefficient disposal of waste garments. The second is sourcing garments from sustainable chemicals, instead of directly from petroleum.

We really think fabrics is a good waste to deal with, as it's smaller in size compared to other commercial plastics application, and there is significant attention being paid to corporate social responsibility movements by companies such as C&A.