Funds backed by Hollywood celebrities Leonardo DiCaprio and Ashton Kutcher have invested millions of pounds into a UK start-up that filters microplastics from washing machines.
Bristol-based tech firm Matter has secured $10m (£7.86m) towards a gadget that will remove toxic particles from household washes.
DiCaprio and Kutcher invested through their respective funds, Regeneration.VC and SOUNDwaves, which have previously bankrolled other eco-friendly causes.
Matter, which has just 30 staff, has developed a device that can be retrofitted onto washing machines.
The £249 gadget uses extremely fine filters to catch microplastics from synthetic clothing, which can release thousands of tiny particles during every wash.
Consumers can then return collected plastic waste to Matter, which will repurpose it.
The start-up wants to license its technology to large electronics companies, while also selling a new industrial-grade version to textile manufacturers.
The funding round, which also included climate investor S2G, will allow it to double its headcount.
Adam Root, founder and chief executive of Matter, said there is huge potential for his technology as awareness grows around microplastics.
“The largest part of microplastic waste comes from textiles,” he said.
“There are now billion-dollar businesses talking about their microplastics strategy. Once these guys get shifting, things will really move.”
Studies have suggested microplastics that gather in the world’s oceans harm critical wildlife, as they damage the growth of zooplankton which is eaten by larger fish and sea mammals.
Other studies have found that plastics can also damage human cells.
The issue has long been ignored but legislation is now catching up.
In France as of 2025, all new washing machines will be required to have a microplastics filter.
A cross-party group of MPs in the UK is calling for a similar policy.
Katherine Keating, managing partner at SOUNDwaves, said incoming laws around microplastics were “inevitable given the ecological and health impacts” of pollution.
Mr Root welcomed the investment from his A-list backers but said he was more excited by partnering with Regeneration.VC’s William McDonough, a green architect who wants to eliminate the concept of waste.
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This notice was published: 2023-08-09 18:00:23