ULUU raises $8.6 million to solve plastic crisis

YarnsandFibers News Bureau 2022-11-18 12:03:29 – Ashmore and Cartier Islands

ULUU, a revolutionary company that aims to replace polluting plastics with a natural seaweed-based alternative, has raised $8.6 million in a Seed round.

Main Sequence Ventures, an existing investor, served as the round's leader. Alberts Impact Ventures, Mistletoe, and Possible Ventures also participated.

The Western Australian company is developing PHAs (polyhydroxyalkanoates), compostable polymers created from seaweed that have the potential to replace all types of plastics, including those used in food packaging, durable products, and textiles.

Through Main Sequence's social impact community Voice Capital, other people from the arts, music, and hospitality sectors are also supporting the idea. These people include Nathan McLay and Future Classic (best known for Flume, Flight Facilities, and G Flip), Australian chef Neil Perry, and Melvin Benn, MD of Festival Republic, the organization behind the Glastonbury and Reading festivals.

To find innovative ways to scale the production process, the funds will be invested in engineering R&D and product development. With assistance from the University of Western Australia for co-location, ULUU is housed at the Indian Ocean Marine Research Centre.

Marine scientist and ULUU co-founder, Dr Julia Reisser, said that the need for environmentally friendly solutions is crucial given the UN-led goal from 20 countries to stop plastic pollution by 2040. Today's plastic issue goes far beyond straws and single-use water bottles. Most people are unaware of how pervasive plastic has grown in many facets of our life. It's present in everything, from the clothes we wear to the cosmetics we use to the vehicles we drive. As a result, our world is suffering.

Reisser added that they've figured out how to make PHAs, a versatile class of natural polymers that can approximate the toughness of plastic while also having the added advantages of being biodegradable and compostable. They can maintain a clean production process while employing resources from the ocean, such as seaweed and seawater, thanks to their fermentation technique, which is similar to making beer.

The procedure involves taking seaweed from sustainable farms and fermenting it into a flexible polymer (in a manner similar to brewing beer). This produces no waste and helps to reduce ocean acidity and eutrophication (overnutrient richness).

In order to lessen the environmental impact of touring and contribute to the battle against climate change, Parker and his Tame Impala bandmates have promoted eco-friendly initiatives throughout their The Slow Rush tour. They have done this by working with the NGO REVERB.

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