Read in 1 min


Instead of old synthetic clothes being buried in landfills, we can serve them to bacteria to produce edible food. When the naturally occurring species digest plastic waste, it’s converted into proteins, carbohydrates and fats – which are the basic components of food.

Winner 2022 — Early Bird

Black Rock Beach
© Ali Choudhry

The innovation in a nutshell

Bio-engineered bacteria turning plastic waste into food.

More in detail

Most of the world’s microplastic pollution comes from the clothes we discard.

When they lie buried in landfills, they release plastic fibres that make their way into the water we drink, the food we eat and the air we breathe. Although plastic is man-made, a natural process can break it down and return it to the Earth.

PLSTC has designed and bio-engineered naturally occurring bacteria with the power to transform plastic waste into edible food, resulting in reduced pollution and a revolutionary shift of the food supply chain.

It works a little something like this: a plastic garment is “fed” to PLSTC’s bio-engineered bacteria. The bacteria then eat away at the plastic, gradually breaking it down into its basic chemical components. When the bacteria have done their bit, the plastic waste has been converted into synthetic proteins, carbohydrates and fats.

Full of nutrients and ready to be served. Bon appetite.

What is an Early Bird winner?

The Early Bird is the best entry from the pool of entries submitted in the first half of the application period. This team does not receive a grant, but get the opportunity to attend parts of the Innovation Accelerator Program.

Team members: Dr. Matthew Latif, Samuel Wines, Garry Broomfield, Mitchell Sutherland, and Andrew Gray.
Country: Australia