A Kirkcaldy inventor, whose groundbreaking soluble paper technology is aiming to raise cancer detection rates, is now hoping his invention can help save the environment.
Brian McCormack’s new soluble wet wipes could be the answer to cutting back on the plastic which clutters the oceans and blocks sewers.
Brian is already testing other potential products such as completely soluble cotton buds and wound dressings in a bid to reduce the millions of household products routinely disposed of in toilets.
The latest developments from McCormack Innovation could not be more timely, with the Scottish Government currently seeking views on its plan to ban plastic-stemmed cotton buds.
But could it be that Brian’s soluble wet wipes are the magic bullet to help reduce plastic pollution and blockages?
Speaking to the Press, Brian said he was inspired by the issues he saw as being avoidable.
He said: “It’s a world-wide problem.
“I saw a couple of documentaries which showed the growing problem of fatbergs in our sewers.
“Wet wipes are a big part of this as people are flushing them away.
“I’m already working on soluble products as it is, so just over six months ago I started working on soluble wet wipes.
“It was a ‘eureka moment when I got the first one to dissolve.
“It’s hard to get something that’s already wet to hold its structure and still have it break up when you need it to.
“But we’ve made it work.
“The prototypes have been shown to Scottish Water’s research and development team, who can see the potential benefits of technology like this.
“We were also put in touch with Heriot Watt University to look into this, using their sewerage testing facility.
“I want to show manufacturers that there is a solution to the problem.”
Dr David Campbell, of Heriot Watt’s School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure & Society, said: “Their product was impressive, and it has the potential to have a positive public health benefit if, for example, if it was incorporated into bowel screening kits as part of the national bowel cancer screening program if it helps to improve the current sample return rate of around 50 per cent.
“Further testing will help to quantify the fate of the dissolved products in terms of any waste water collection system impact, and I look forward to finding the funding required to do this.”
Brian has also reached the final of the Scottish Edge Awards, where innovative firms can win funding of up to £150,000.
Brian added: “It’s great to reach the final of the Scottish Edge Awards.
“To even make the final 20 most innovative firms is huge, as it’s whittled down from about 260 entrants.”
And if that’s not enough, McCormack Innovation is also in the running for the Scottish Vibes Awards, which highlights firms aiming to improve or reduce their impact on the environment.