MP visits lab of Cambridge University spin-out turning peas into next generation plastic

Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner visited the lab of University of Cambridge spin-out Xampla last week to see its science in action as the firm turns plant proteins into next generation plastic.

Daniel Zeichner visits Xampla

Xampla has engineered the world’s first natural alternative material developed for commercial use that can act like plastic but is made from plant proteins. The material has similar properties to synthetic plastics but will break down fully without harming the natural environment.  

The technology is the result of 15 years of research into the chemical properties of proteins, inspired by the natural strength of spiders’ silk. 

Mr Zeichner is a proclaimed environmentalist and an executive member of Labour’s national environmental campaign group calling for a shift to a greener tax policy.

He said: “It’s plastic free July and I know this has resonated with many in the community. We have seen world changing science come out of Cambridge throughout history. It’s terrific for the city to know that it is once again a part of such an incredible breakthrough, and one the planet is desperately calling for.’

“I was fascinated to see the work being done by the scientists at Xampla and meet the team of inspirational minds. I speak for the city when I say we are all very excited for what’s to come from the company in the coming months, years, and indeed decades. I welcome the very important work they are doing.”

Xampla will be releasing its first products later this year, natural microcapsules for home and personal care products. 

These products are cargo carriers for assets such as fragrances allowing the slow release of desired properties. Traditionally these carriers are made from plastic, which will break down into microplastics and pollute water systems. 

The technology has the capabilities to be extended to products with similar properties as other single-use items such as films and sachets. 

Simon Hombersley, CEO of Xampla, said: “The visit has come at a really exciting time for the business. After years of research and development we prepare to launch the first products to market. We were delighted to host Daniel Zeichner and his team and look forward to more visits as we progress through the Xampla journey.”

Professor Tuomas Knowles, Scientific Adviser, said: “Xampla’s next generation technology is born out of Cambridge University. We strongly believe that the science has the opportunity to make a real difference to the planet as we urgently move to sustainable solutions to tackle to climate crisis.”

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