2M and young people solve the plastic problem through Chemistry!

The 2M STEM programme reaches circa 550 school children and young people in the North of the UK every year. The programme aims to increase their access to a career in the Chemical Industry and to inspire them to a career in STEM.

In July, Jim Bell, Dispersions Development Manager and Specialty Chemicals Account Manager at Banner Chemicals, a 2M subsidiary, once again became a Chemistry teacher for the day, as part of the ‘Chemistry at Work’ initiative at the Catalyst Museum.


Jim worked with 90 students and their teachers, explaining the invention of plastics mainly Polyethylene (PET ) & Polypropylene (PP) and made some small pieces of each plastic in the lab. They discussed the uses of each and their properties for mobile phones, cups, bags, toys, clothes and others.

The students were made aware that the environmental issue of plastics is not a function of the chemical industry but merely a littering problem, where plastics are thrown away and not recycled. They discussed statistics on the number of years for various plastics to biodegrade, and the quantity of recycling we do in the UK.

Jim and the students explored alternatives to traditional plastics and, including making a bioplastic from a potato!

After a hands on lab experiment to extract starch (amylose and amylopectin ) from a potato, each student was presented with a 100% plant made water bottle courtesy of Banner Chemicals.

Mottie Kessler MBE, CEO and Chairman of 2M Holdings said: ‘We are delighted to support Chemistry at Work Week. Inspiring the next generation of Scientists is key to the health of our industry and something I passionately believe in.’

For schools looking for STEM education support or for more education, please contact Liran Maller, HR Director on lmaller@2m-holdings.com