Polymateria: How this British envirotech is reducing plastic pollution naturally


Tonnes and tonnes of plastic can be found everywhere, from the city streets to arctic ice sheets. It is estimated that almost 80% of all plastic ever produced has ended up in landfills or the natural environment. 

Plastics is a global crisis now, and policymakers have begun to respond with bans or limitations on plastic bags and more. Alongside, many startups across the world are working to mitigate global plastic pollution. 


Based out of London, Polymateria is one such startup advancing science to help nature deal with plastic pollution. The company is developing a new standard in biodegradable and compostable plastics called Biotransformation. It fully biodegrades common forms of plastic, leaving behind zero microplastics with no environmental harm in the process. 

Appoints new Head of Public Affairs & Regulatory Strategy

Recently, the UK startup has also announced the appointment of Steven Altmann-Richer as Head of Public Affairs & Regulatory Strategy, who joins from Tesla. He will work with policymakers and regulators across the world to accelerate Polymateria’s mission to solve the global plastic pollution crisis by putting an end to microplastics and promoting recycling.

From Tesla to Polymateria

Steven has more than 10 years of experience in policy & public affairs, most recently leading public policy for UK, Ireland & new markets at Tesla. During his time at Tesla, Steven worked with policymakers and other stakeholders to accelerate the transition to more sustainable transport and energy systems, whilst also growing the Tesla business across the UK & Ireland and other emerging markets.

Prior to joining Tesla, Steven spent six years at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), where he held several senior positions managing the CBI’s policy activity. Steven led the CBI’s work on EU and international energy and climate change policy, and as Head of EU, negotiations was responsible for leading the organisation’s activity following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union.

 Steven holds a Bachelor of Arts in Geography and Master’s in Environmental Policy from the University of Oxford. He has also been a Sustainability Fellow at Yale University.

Advanced biodegradation technology 

According to the company, the Biotransformation process can be time-controlled and given a ‘Recycle By’ date to promote recycling by consumers. 

Notably, the lab tests have proven that Biotransformation under real-world conditions occurs within 226 days for polyethylene films and 336 days for rigid polypropylene containers. 

It’s worth mentioning that Polymateria recently open-sourced part of its IP to support the development of a British standard for plastic biodegradability.

Founded in 2016 by Jonathan Sieff and Lee Davy-Martin, Polymateria raised £15 million from Planet First Partners to help its mission of tackling global plastic pollution.