Mike Biddle named as a ‘Recycling Champion’ by National Geographic


MBA’s Mike Biddle has been named among the world’s ‘Champions of Recycling’ by JASON Learning, a not-for-profit educational organisation part-managed by the National Geographic Society. JASON aims to inspire and educate children around the world to engage with science through multimedia teaching.

Entitled ‘Tools for a Lifetime’, the JASON article describes how Biddle chose his career because he ‘hated waste’ and wanted to understand how he could make useful materials from plastic waste. While most people simply get rid of things they don’t want anymore, Biddle tries to recapture them, he says.

The article sets the scene by explaining that only about 10% of plastic waste is recycled, compared to 90% of metals, due to the complexity of separating different types of plastic. It also touches on the issue of recyclable waste being shipped overseas, highlighting that we don’t really know if it’s been recycled efficiently or whether some of it has been burned, landfilled or dumped in the ocean.

Biddle progressed from traditional polymer research to establishing MBA Polymers in his home garage. His aim was to create a highly efficient and economical means of separating post-consumer plastic waste in order for it to be reused as high quality recycled plastic. From there, he developed a patented series of techniques for plastics separation and has built a global business processing more than 150k tonnes of plastic waste per year.

He sees his 20 years in business as one of constant problem solving. “You solve one problem, and move on to the next one,” Biddle tells JASON, explaining that studying maths and science equipped him with the right tools to understand how the world works and tackle these challenges. “The best thing that ever happened to me was learning maths and science at school,” he says. “It wasn’t always fun or easy but it has paid huge dividends.”

Biddle refers to a school project completed by his daughter, whereby she designed a recycling programme for her school and MBA Polymers showed the children how the plastic waste was recycled.

He concludes by saying that he’s still excited about what he does: “If you have the ability to solve these problems, you’ll never stop having fun because you’re always learning new things.”

To read the JASON Learning article, please click here.