Plastic Pollution Kills, CuanTec Saves

by CuanTec in Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom

We did it
On 12th April 2018 we successfully raised £5,036 with 131 supporters in 42 days

Petroleum plastic pollution is killing the planet. CuanTec want to make compostable alternatives from natural ingredients and food waste.

by CuanTec in Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom


Plastic pollution can’t continue. We are choking our rivers and oceans, filling our land with waste. A third of food in the western world is wasted, unused – and often the combination of plastic and food rots and pollutes our homelands and harms our wildlife.  CuanTec are working to prevent this.

We are a small company in Scotland with a circular economy approach. We take shells from the fishery industry – the bits of scampi that you don’t eat – and turn it into compostable anti-microbial food packaging that makes your food last longer, avoiding plastic and food waste at the same time.

We started in January last year and we have already prototypes of 3 food packaging films.

We are taking them forward as fast as we can to get them available to help extend the shelf-life of salmon steaks, and in the future, the whole range of fresh foods.

But there is more to plastic pollution than just food film, there is so much more that we should be working on.


We need your help to fund the development of prototypes for another  group of projects - there are companies interested in the finished products, but we need to expand our team and our facilities to be able to do the first steps to get to prototypes. We have great support from Scottish Enterprise and funding agencies, but we also need support from everyone out there to be able to get really useful products that will make an impact on everyones lives faster.

b63bf759153cf6c8a714a03d574fda49362481d4Dairy farmer from Ayrshire – Bryce Cunningham of Mossgiel Farm wants compostable single use milk-bottles for his 

Mark Hazell of JawBrew brewers from Glasgow who are already invested in the circular economy producing 836f9cab0190388f0c6a9649c135f9440c0e68fcHardTack beer from stale bread rolls, wants to work with CuanTec to create packaging specially for the brewing industry with the primary aim of creating a compostable can collator – to hold 4 and 6 packs of beer together.

"Jaw Brew has a vision to make the brewing industry more sustainable and reduce the amount of non-compostable plastic material being thrown away; CuanTec can help to make that happen."

Tom Harkins of Vitasheet (international group of plastic sheet manufacturers) want eco-friendly alternatives for their durable plastic sheets which often rely on silver-ion technology for antimicrobial benefits. www.vitasheetgroup.comd80d32948736c4c58d62ad10c98e4a05a12866e7

38fcd536beb756275ba5afdf42f7242c92d9db35And Aly Tharani of Ecoaeon from Oxfordshire have already invested a lot in solving the problem of single use bottled water by creating durable plastic reusable bottles that have technology to increase the water quality and purity – but they would like help in making those “greener”.

“We are committed to bringing “life back to water”, “life back to earth”, “life back into life”, “life back in the Oceans" and doing whatever we can to provide natural, fundamental, and effective solutions for a healthier, happier world.”


CuanTec are doing something totally different from the rest of the world. We take langoustine shells, extracting the natural  biopolymer chitin from those shells through a revolutionary fermentation  process, which totally removes the need for harsh chemicals.

We  then mix it with other natural substances derived from food – such as  cellulose – provided by another excellent Scottish company

This will provide strong, adaptable flexible materials which will be able to solve these global challenges.

….and  for the times when a truly green totally bioplastic isn’t required  (yet) – Vitasheet will provide the development process with their vast  knowledge on recycling of plastics….so whatever the solution,  appropriate to each problem, the end product will not be found in the  oceans choking our turtles in the future.


Everyone is part of the problem, Everyone needs to be part of the solution

Innovation and making new products is costly – CuanTec need at least £200,000 to make this all possible and so we welcome all support and contributions for all sources. 

We will use your contributions to take on more staff and get more equipment, to work closely with funding agencies to match their support contributions, and to get these products to market faster.

Budget breakdown: 95cf4f77d10220e0f3beb485a3722ea4b4a555a8

We know £200,000 is a lot of money. But we also know that there are a lot of people out there who really care about what we are doing and want to see these natural bioplastic alternatives available as soon as possible. If everyone who sees this page could give £10 then we would be well on our way to achieving our goal.

If we exceed £200 000 we will contribute 10% of the amount above our target to the charity Hebridean Whale and Dolphin  trust,


We have an enthusiastic team working in labs in Biocity,  Newhouse and at Oban. We understand how to get the natural biopolymer  chitin out of the shells (and out of mushrooms, insects, crabs, lobsters  - chitin is everywhere, the second most abundant natural biopolymer in  the world) in a way that is low-energy, efficient and gives very high  quality. We know how to mix that with other food-grade edible substances  to make natural plastics - bioplastics - to create non polluting  alternatives to petroleum plastic.

Dr Ryan Taylor our Chief Scientific Officer and founder of the company.

794767bc59ce6ce0b056352c80b19de7f5e51e23After  a PhD in physical chemistry at Strathclyde University and experience in  fine chemistry and pharmaceutical industries, he decided to form CuanTec after seeing the number of langoustines left to rot in the  landfill, instead of using them.

“Biomaterials are the materials of the future. Utilising biotechnological methodology rather than traditional chemistry is the way in which the chemical sciences are moving. Using natural materials derived from food waste to curb both food waste and plastic pollution seems like a good idea.”

Dr Cait Murray-Green our CEO.

6c3a5031d8b63816c7897bbec9713707e6918e47Cait has extensive business experience as well as a PhD in Chemistry. She has worked with Ryan on this idea since the beginning and knows how important it is to get the right products in the right place at the right time. 

“CuanTec has developed a new way of getting chitin without damaging the environment, this is definitely the right time to get alternatives to polluting plastic developed and available to everyone”

Dr Tracy White our Head of Microbiology.

Tracy has years of experience in bio-technology company.

7c3809f49406c9a9cf2df3bdbf8f92628c4fccdeShe  is leading the microbiological aspects of the novel extraction process  developed by CuanTec and is based at the European Centre for Marine  Biotechnology, near Oban. She checks that what we make works to prevent food spoiling, actually making food last longer.


Every contribution is very gratefully recieved. We appreciate all support that is given, including helping us spread the awareness of this crowdfunder through social media, emails and talking to your friends. It all makes a difference.

But for those in a position to assist financially we can provide a little thank you.

For each donation  we will send you a personalised acknowledgement certificate.

We all can make a difference to the environment. 

There are a many things that can help; reusing cups; reusing carrier bags; not using ear-buds; using eco-friendly alternatives to every day plastic items – for example, one small change could be to stop using plastic handled toothbrushes, and instead find a eco-friendly, quality alternative.

With this in mind, we have also arranged a special discount for all of our donors with Brushbox – the UK’s first oral health subscription box, offering you a simple and convenient way to ensure you and your family maintain a healthier, whiter smile.

To help us all to make these simple choices which can benefit the environment, Brushbox offer beautiful Bamboo handled toothbrushes (for adults & kids!) which are not only a joy to use, but are also made using eco-friendly Mao Bamboo – an environmentally sustainable timber which is heat treated (to carbonize the surface) to provide water resistance and additional antibacterial properties. All their packaging is also made from fully recyclable & FSC certified board, with all pulp sourced from well managed and sustainable sources.

With the above in mind, every contributor to our campaign will receive a free £5 voucher to use at – we hope you like it!7889bad178a30e3eb467f5c1380bbf644ad6e2b2


What about the science? Can I know more?

Sure, you just have to go to

When is your plastic going to be on the market? 

As soon as possible.

This is why this crowdfunding is really important, it will allow us to have our product ready to reach the market sooner – if we exceed our target, then we can hire more staff and take the products further to market faster. Every donation has a real impact on our work and we are grateful for all support.

What can you do with your product? 

Pretty much everything that regular plastic does, we just need to develop it.

How old is the company? 

The company opened its laboratories on 9th of January 2017, so we are a little bit more than a year old

Is the team composed of only 3 people? 

The team is composed of Ryan, Tracy, Cait but also Marguerite and Sarah, as well as numerous partners and consultants, helping us in the journey to replace plastics from fossil-fuels.

Have you more questions? Ask them we will be happy to answer. 


This project offers rewards in return for your donation. Please select a reward below.

£1 or more

A discount code for Brushbox

For all our donors we have also arranged a special discount at BrushBox - they are working to provide kinder to the environmental dental kits for adults and children. They include Bamboo handled toothbrushes which are a joy to use!

Got an idea like this?

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