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The Polyfloss Factory

The Polyfloss Factory specializes in developing innovative portable solutions to upcycle small format plastics on a local scale.

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The Polyfloss technology has been in development for 5 years, it a bespoke machine that produces Polyfloss: a floss-like (fiber) plastic material made by applying heat and spinning thermoplastics (specifically small format waste plastic such as bottle caps), in a process similar to candyfloss production. 

A video of this process can be seen here.

The properties of the resulting material can be controlled by varying the applied temperature and the spin speed, each of the various output materials have multiple use-cases. Polyfloss shows great potential as a way to create value from waste material, by transforming plastic waste into useful new material for products such as building insulation.

The Polyfloss Factory has explored numerous uses for Polyfloss in addition to insulation, including packaging, knitted fibers, felted fibers and woven fibers to make textiles. Polyfloss can also be fully or partially re-melted to add structural and ‘multi-structural’ properties. This new multi-structural material shows the potential upcycle waste material into new plastic products without expensive or complicated manufacturing techniques and infrastructure, which is currently required in traditional plastic forming methods, such as injection molding.

Idea Title

The Polyfloss Factory

Company / Organization Name

The Polyfloss Factory

Website

http://www.thepolyflossfactory.com/

Where are you / your team located?

London and Paris

How does this Idea redesign unrecyclable small format plastic items that often end up as waste?

The Polyfloss Factory is an innovative plastic recycling process inspired by the operations of a candy-floss machine. It transforms neglected & discarded thermoplastics into fluffy wool fibers that can then be re-used for insulation, packaging, garments or product design. This new machine allows contextual recycling and small scale upskilling and re-employement, which is rare for polymers that have historically depended on the user having expertise in production, manufacturing, and engineering.

Which use cases does your Idea apply to?

Case 2: Bottle Caps / Thermoplastics Empowering disadvantaged communities to utilize freely available small format waste plastic to insulate their homes. The objective is to demonstrate the hyper-local value proposition of this new approach by offering insulation for people living shelters and camps in Nepal. This helps them to comfortably get through cold winters, stops them from inhaling toxic fumes from internal fires and circumvents plastic waste from entering the environment.

In what geographical context or area does your Idea plan to operate / solve?

Currently working with local communities in Nepal, seeking to expand pilot and reach others living in disadvantaged areas in poorly insulated accommodation.

How do you envision scaling up your Idea?

The Polyfloss Factory has won multiple awards, been featured in numerous publications and has exhibited all over the world. Each of these small scale iterations has lead to the partnership with Field Ready to develop the use of The Polyfloss Factory to produce insulation. In order to scale this pilot to more regions, more in-depth in-situ research and analysis is needed to overcome the various barriers faced, such as the energy supply, portability, and replicability.

At what stage of development is your Idea?

  • Piloting: You have started to implement your solution as a whole with a first set of real users. You may have started to develop a business model for your idea, including identifying key customer segments, relevant partnerships, go-to-market strategy, and draft financials.
  • Full-scale roll-out: You have developed a pilot, tested, and analyzed the impact of that pilot as it pertains to the problem scope. You are ready to expand the pilot significantly and begin to scale.

Please describe how becoming a Top Idea and working with the Think Beyond Plastics Accelerator Program will help to accelerate your solution.

By collaborating with an industry mentor and a wider network, The Polyfloss Factory technology can be further researched and trialed in-situ. This is vital for identifying and executing the steps to refine the Polyfloss Factory into a reliable and readily deployable system. A successful result from the accelerator program would be a more scalable Polyfloss machine that is easier to manufacture and faster to set up and an optimized material output of higher value, empowering disadvantaged people.

Please describe from where your Idea emerged

Nick, Christophe, Emile and Audrey founded The Polyfloss Factory whilst studying Innovation Design Engineering (IDE) at The RCA and Imperial College London. Norah is a 2015 Schmidt-MacArthur Fellow supporting commercial funding opportunities.

Tell us about your work experience

Nick, Christophe, Emile, Audrey and Norah bring a mix of industry experience from industrial design, design engineering, mechanical engineering, fine art, environmental technology & fashion design.

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Hi Polyfloss 

The Ideas Phase of the challenge closes TONIGHT at 11:30 p.m. PT. Your post is currently unpublished, in draft mode. In order to be eligible for evaluation, your post must be published on the platform.

We'd love to have it be included in the challenge. You can publish it by hitting the "Publish" button at the top of your post. You can also update your post by clicking on the "Edit Contribution" on top. Thanks!