A UK-based company, Toraphene, has developed a new material, also called Toraphene, that uses biopolymers that reportedly compost naturally and biodegrade without human intervention, even in the ocean. The biopolymers are combined with graphene – a Nobel prize-winning substance derived from carbon that is stronger than diamond at an atomic level.

“Amidst a climate crisis, plastic waste is known to be a huge, global problem and many plastic alternatives now exist, so why don’t we see them everywhere?”, says Gaute Juliussen, CEO and Founder of Toraphene. “It’s because they need specific manmade conditions to biodegrade, and many degrade into microplastics, which contaminate our oceans and food chain for centuries.

“Such bioplastics have effectively been ‘greenwashed’ and mis-sold to environmentally responsible consumers and companies,” claims Juliussen. “They also tear easily, shorten the shelf-life of the contents they contain and cannot be produced economically at scale.”

The company says that, due to the addition of Graphene, Toraphene has been shown to be stronger, thinner, and less permeable than alternatives, improving food safety and shelf-life. This, Toraphene claims, presents the first commercially viable alternative to plastics.

An entrepreneur, venture capitalist, and former Associate Professor of Business, Juliussen founded Toraphene in 2018 with the initial aim of creating what he describes as a “green alternative” to carrier bags and food and drink containers. Such plastics make up 23 percent of marine waste.

Birgit Liodden, founder of The Ocean Opportunity Lab, said: “Toraphene has the potential to create a critical turning point in tackling the global plastic pollution crisis. We all know how pressing the climate crisis is, and plastic pollution is a huge problem, particularly in our ocean environments. I’m very heartened by the prospect of Toraphene, which should be a transformative step in tackling plastic pollution and play a huge role in making the world’s oceans plastic-free”.

Ahead of the launch of Toraphene, which is patented in the UK, EU, and the US, Juliussen is launching an equity crowdfunding campaign on Crowdcube.

Toraphene is renting production equipment from plastic bag manufacturers and plugging directly into existing supply chains. The company says that it is already in talks with major consumer brands, retailers, and food packaging suppliers.