Updated: Jun 26, 2020

Within the last month two important events have occurred;

The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) released it’s whitepaper, Science to enable sustainable plastics, and research consultancy startup, Addible, was incorporated. Although the two events were merely coincidental, the RSC’s paper provides a perfect background to introduce Addible as well as informing the company’s mandate for the future.

Addible was formed by members of the Green Chemistry Centre of Excellence (GCCE) to help bring about sustainable evolution in plastics. This started with Addible’s founder, James Comerford, who had increasingly felt that academic research is too often heavily weighted towards large enterprises with dedicated research budgets. James explained;


Of course, large investment powers the research machine but SMEs should also be able to benefit from academic innovation too. There is frequently a need for shorter, targeted projects in an ever changing and increasingly demanding legislative landscape.”


Commissioning research, managing a project and translating results to a commercial outlet often takes significant time, money and dedication. As an experienced researcher in sustainable plastics, James identified the benefits a research consultancy could offer to allow quick, targeted research as part of a long term sustainability program to help cascade innovation throughout the plastics value chain.

Together with co-founders, James Clark and Fergal Byrne, the Addible team was born bringing years of experience in green chemistry to the table with collectively over 600 papers, 20,000 citations and 25 patents. Through their shared expertise Addible aims to support industry members to deliver innovation, allowing their products and services to evolve sustainably. The idea of sustainable evolution is one that Fergal feels particularly strongly about;


Evolution is a long term process that never stops. Yes, we want to target quick-win solutions to deliver results but we also want to help businesses develop gradually and continually build upon their green credentials. It’s tough for smaller businesses to stay on top of sustainability and no one can guarantee that what is considered green today will be green tomorrow.”


This is where Addible hopes to help with some of the legislative burden brought about by government targets. More than that, they see it as a great opportunity for companies to set themselves apart from their competitors. Consumers are more than ever asking questions about corporate environmental responsibility and the advantages we all gain from plastics as a material can no longer be at the expense of the environment. The RSC highlighted the demand for this within the plastics industry;

Overall, it is clear that a ‘business as usual’ approach to plastic waste is unsustainable and that a range of current and future industries require innovation in the plastics sector to deliver more sustainable products. Chemistry can play a crucial role in ensuring that we can continue to reap the benefits of plastics, but in a much more sustainable way.”

An estimated five million tonnes of plastic is used in the UK every year and according to some predictions an estimated six million tonnes of plastic waste will be generated by 2030. The environmental threat is sobering and in response the government has set an ambition of ‘zero avoidable waste’ by 2050. Along with UK Plastic PACT targets, it is clear that a great upheaval is needed to move plastics from a linear to circular industry. The RSC white paper proposes four ‘research challenges’ to assist in this journey;

  1. Understand the impacts of plastics throughout their life cycles

  2. Develop new sustainable plastics

  3. Closed-loop plastics recycling

  4. Understand and control plastic degradation

Addible sees the above challenges as part of their future mandate and the team is poised to assist businesses with innovative solutions by providing tailor made research for a range of budgets. This can take multiple forms from simple desk-based appraisal reports allowing clients to assess technical and market potential, to laboratory research and prototype testing in world class facilities. Fergal explains;


We want to get a deep understanding at the outset of the processes currently employed so that we can gather evidence before moving forward. Desk based research reduces risk because we can evaluate the results of related developments and better design bespoke solutions. From here we can take these concepts into the laboratory and investigate fully before scaling up”


We are entering a time where the economic argument for sustainable business is undeniable and whether this is driven by legislation or otherwise, progress can have upfront costs. To assist, the Addible team have significant experience in navigating the complicated world of funding proposals and can help clients in making the best case for support whilst avoiding the mistakes that commonly result in rejection. The financial burden of research can often be eased as stakeholders at governmental levels are committed to driving innovation and funding is regularly available to help business move forward. In summarising James puts it simply;


“There’s a strong economic argument for sustainability. Addible can bring together the expertise, knowledge of funding, project management and research at top laboratories to deliver innovation that will make businesses more profitable. Sustainable evolution is not a question of if, but when.”


Read the RSC whitepaper Science to enable sustainable plastics

Read the House of Commons Library Plastic Waste

Get in touch! Email us at contact@addible.co.uk

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