North East business fighting industrial plastic waste hailed as region’s startup to watch in 2020
PLASTECH Innovation, a startup and joint venture with Durham University developing plastic aggregates made entirely from post-consumer waste plastic, has been awarded first prize at the If We Can You Can Challenge’s (IWCYC) ‘Ones to Watch’ Final.
Plastech Innovation is developing a patentable process to convert post-industrial and post-consumer plastic waste that is not recycled into an aggregate for use in concrete and other construction materials. The business aims for plastic to be used in replacement of sand in traditional concrete formulations, producing a lighter weight, thermally insulating and sound reducing material with superior visual qualities.
The award, brought to you by FIRST, is open to any pre-revenue startup or those trading under six months and was presented as part of the If We Can You Can Challenge at Teesside University in November 2019. The IWCYC One to Watch Final inspires and celebrates the newest and freshest talent from the region with the winner receiving business coaching, advice and guidance from some of the biggest names in the North East industry.
Phil Buckley, co-founder of Plastech Innovation said, “The business has the potential for global positive environmental impact, removing plastic from waste streams that would usually go to incineration or landfill, more so, we are contributing to the circular economy by providing waste materials with a use and value.
“The IWCYC challenge is a unique opportunity to communicate your business idea to the wider business community. The format is fast paced, exciting and gives you the chance to work on and refine your pitch in action. It was a great day overall, and the high level of competition in the room highlighted the quality of up and coming business startups within the region.
“The FIRST team has hosted great events to allow us to meet the wider business community and fellow entrepreneurs. Their friendly personalities and great sense of humour allow you to feel connected with others immediately.”
The business was started by three co-founders while completing PHDs in materials science to directly tackle the plastic crisis and address the rarely talked about issue of our planet running out of sand.
Natasha Boulding, also co-founder of Plastech Innovation said, “We use enough sand to build a 20 metre high wall around the equator each year, that’s five billion tonnes. If just 1.3 per cent of the sand used in construction was replaced with our waste plastic alternative, we could eliminate plastic waste globally.”
Charlotte Windebank, founder and Managing Director at FIRST said, “The North East has the lowest startup business rates in the country. For this to change we must unite and support, encourage and most importantly celebrate enterprising people across the region to start up and build successful businesses.
“The IWCYC challenge was set up to tackle the problem and give the next generation of entrepreneurs access to the wider business community to help them on their entrepreneurial journey and inspire more enterprising people across the region to take the leap into starting their own business. A huge congratulations to the Plastech Innovation team on their win, we can’t wait to see where your vision will take you as your business continues to grow and flourish.”
The If We Can You Can Challenge Ones to Watch Final was co-hosted with Teesside University and Teesside Launchpad and supported by multiple partners including Tees Valley Business Club, Digital City, Mincoffs Solicitors, Deloitte, NatWest Business Bank, Go North East, Northern Print Solutions, NEL Fund Managers, Sunderland University, North East Times and as numerous local entrepreneurs.