Leonardo DiCaprio, Ashton Kutcher back Bristol microplastics startup

Hollywood stars Leonardo DiCaprio, and Ashton Kutcher invested millions in a UK startup that filters microplastics out of washing machines.

Matter, a Bristol-based technology firm, has received $10m (£7.86m). The money will be used to develop a device that will remove toxic substances from household washing.

DiCaprio invested via his fund, Regeneration.VC, and Kutcher through SOUNDwaves. Both funds have previously funded other eco-friendly causes.

Matter, a company with only 30 employees, has created a device which can be retrofitted to washing machines.

The £249 device uses ultra-fine filters to capture microplastics in synthetic clothing. Synthetic clothing can release thousands upon thousands of particles with every wash.

The collected plastic can be returned to Matter for repurposing.

The startup wants to sell its industrial version to textile companies and also license their technology to large electronic companies.

It will be able to double their headcount with the funding round that included S2G.

Adam Root, the founder and CEO of Matter, says that his technology has a huge potential as awareness about microplastics grows.

He said that the largest portion of microplastics comes from textiles.

There are now companies worth billions of dollars talking about their microplastics strategies. Once they start moving, things will move quickly.

According to studies, microplastics in the oceans are harmful for wildlife as they harm the growth of zooplankton that is eaten by sea mammals and larger fish.

In other studies , it was found that plastics could also harm human cells.

Long ignored, the issue is finally being addressed by legislation.

All new washing machines in France will have to be equipped with a microplastics filtration system by 2025.

A group of MPs from different parties in the UK has called for a policy similar to this.

Katherine Keating said that laws regulating microplastics are “inevitable” given the negative effects of pollution on health and ecology.

Mr Root said that he welcomed the investment of his A-list investors, but he was most excited about partnering with William McDonough from Regeneration.VC. McDonough is a green architect and wants to eliminate waste.