Lyfecycle is an innovative time-set biodegradation technology that aims to eliminate 4 billion tonnes of plastic that would otherwise wind up in our oceans by 2050.

An estimated 32 percent of all plastic packaging used globally does not get recycled or disposed of properly and winds up in nature. A staggering 80 percent of plastic found in the ocean comes from this unmanaged waste on land. Traditional plastics break down into microplastics that last thousands of years contributing to climate change and affecting our natural habitat, food chain, and as a result our health.

At Polymateria we have created Lyfecycle, the world’s first plastic that self-destructs in less than a year leaving no toxins and microplastics behind.

View the Lifecycle website here

We designed this technology with two considerations in mind:

  1. The first principle of design is to ensure harmony between the materials we use as humans and the biosphere, as ultimately these materials need to be able to fully and safely return to nature at some point in time.

  2. The second design consideration, is to give our human-made infrastructure (recycling, waste to energy etc) every chance to happen. We do this by precisely time controlling exactly when our technology becomes active, allowing for the ideal end of life scenario, but accepting that if biodegradation is needed the materials won’t persist in nature as plastics of microplastics for hundreds of years.

By redesigning the materials at the point of manufacture we allow recycling to happen and also offer a solution to the plastics that are most likely to end up in nature.

Our overarching goal is to accelerate the transition to a circular economy, and there are two ways we are paving our way forward:

  1. We work hand in hand with companies and brands to design plastic materials that are not harmful to the environment.

  2. Engage consumers in the fight to eliminate plastic pollution by providing a platform for their voice to be heard and encouraging responsible consumption.

Everyone - from civil society, the private sector, and the government - has a role to play. Lyfecycle is an open invitation to join the fight and bring solutions to life before it is too late.

Project Impact


Our technology allows plastic materials to safely and quickly biodegrade on land before it has the chance to enter water streams and as a result, oceans. In practice, this means that with Lyfecycle technology we can prevent the harmful effects plastic has on marine life and improve the health of the oceans which absorb more than 30 percent of CO2.


We challenge companies, scientists, designers to think differently and design materials with circular economy practices in mind. People: by designing non-toxic materials and eliminating plastic from the environment, we can stop microplastics from entering our food chain, As such, we can reduce exposure to harmful chemicals that have been linked to serious health issues and improve the wellbeing of people all across the world.

Project timeline

Lifecycle will take 3 years to mobilize 100 million young people globally taking meaningful action on plastic pollution through supporting Lyfecycle solution.

The team

Founded in 2015 at Imperial College London, Polymateria is British technology company that develops biodegradable products to tackle plastic pollution.

Partners and developers

Key contacts