Lucideon, the international materials development and commercialization organization, is one of the winners of the Plastics Research and Innovation Fund (PRIF), funded through Innovate UK, the UK's innovation agency.
Working with the UK's best scientists and innovation teams, the PRIF aims to explore and develop novel innovations that can move the country towards a more sustainable approach to plastics.
Announcing the winners of the fund in October, Business and Energy secretary, Greg Clark, said:
"Companies are capitalising on the UK's world leading research base to develop products that tackle the global scourge of plastic waste while grasping the business opportunities found in the green economy.
"When you combine Britain's leadership, innovation and determination it is an unbeatable combination – exactly what our Industrial Strategy and Green GB Week are supporting and encouraging."
Lucideon's 9-month project is a feasibility study to assess whether polymers in microbeads can be replaced by, for example, environmentally friendly inorganic alternatives.
Plastic microbeads have been widely used in the cosmetics industry either in rinse-off products, such as shampoos and toothpaste, or in leave-on formulations, such as lipsticks and sun creams. Although plastics have several benefits, the size of these additives is such that waste water treatment plants cannot retain them efficiently and they are released into the environment with negative effects. Consequently, the UK issued a ban on microbeads in care products in June 2018.
Dr Gilda Gasparini, lead scientist on the project said: "The target is to achieve high quality, economical beads based on metrics given by the industry leaders.
"We believe that Lucideon technology platforms have the potential to fill the gaps and provide a green processed material to replace microplastics in leave-on cosmetics products."