Why Allonnia, Why Now?

5 min readJul 16, 2021

Allonnia was founded on the belief that the answer to our waste and pollution challenges lies in nature. In nature, nothing is wasted, and we believe this principle can — and must — be applied to industry as well.

Waste is a design flaw of our systems of production. These processes are linear: inputs are produced, consumed, and discarded, never to be used again and oftentimes having lasting negative impacts far beyond their useful life. Around the world massive amounts of waste accumulate in our lands and oceans. Acres of land and miles of waterways lie fallowed, choked with toxic and hazardous pollutants.

Previous innovations in waste management have merely maintained these linear processes, pushing waste further out of view through physical and chemical solutions such as landfilling, incinerating, and chemical separation. Nature has been an afterthought and a place where trash is disposed; we believe that nature is, instead, the most powerful and ingenious source of innovation in waste remediation.

Nature is the original innovator — as our Board member and the CEO of Ginkgo Bioworks, Jason Kelly has said,

“Inside an apple or banana is a level of complexity at a cellular level that exceeds what Intel has in a chip.”

Nowhere is this truer than in waste remediation: microbes, enzymes, and proteins have evolved for millennia to consume, degrade, or bind with the waste around them. The solutions to our man-made waste and pollution challenges exist in nature.

The urgency of our waste challenges demand that we act. The legacy of twentieth century waste in our soil and water sources is compounded by new, contemporary factors that are driving urgent demand for better solutions, including economic growth (emerging markets’ growth is increasing total waste globally), urbanization (70% of the world’s population expected to be concentrated in cities by 2050 generating super-waste-nodal points), sustainable inputs (raw materials are depleted or too expensive, industry is demanding sustainable alternatives), regulatory focus (galvanized by public sentiment and irrefutable science, governments are imposing stringent regulations), and public health (insufficient or harmful waste treatment is directly correlated to multiple public health crises). The challenge is expanding just as existing mechanical and chemical solutions are reaching their limits.

Nature knows how to heal itself, but, unaided, it may take hundreds or thousands of years to accomplish this. We must act sooner. Allonnia sees waste as a systems challenge with a biological solution. We can learn from nature and bring a new level of performance to its potential. Taking nature’s lead, advancing its evolution and combining it with existing proven treatment technologies and deployment models will enable the ability to redeem waste, liberate natural resources, and permanently remove harmful pollutants.

We see a world without waste by tapping into the unrealized potential of waste as a raw material for microbes to consume. Imagine a world where specially-designed microbial and enzymatic solutions eliminate toxic waste from water and land, restoring them to productive use. Where microbes, enzymes, and proteins upcycle plastic and other waste, transforming them into new and useful products. Where waste becomes a raw material and circularity is achieved allowing industry and the environment to perform better together.

Allonnia’s ethos is to work in harmony with nature, combining biology and technology to make future solutions possible today. Through this collaboration we will unlock the potential in waste and enable a world where nothing is wasted.

Our Mission: To create a world without waste, powered by nature.

This is not new thinking; bioremediation has long relied on natural organisms. But, these efforts have been blunt tools, unable to precisely target new pollutants and scale to meet the need. Now is the moment thanks to a confluence of factors that permit us to develop and deploy powerful transformative biological solutions at scale, leapfrogging existing mechanical and chemical systems and using biology to transform waste. Today, we have the ability to analyze nature and synthesize new solutions for optimal results. Allonnia stands on the shoulders of synthetic biology and bioremediation science giants.

How will we do this? First, Allonnia has the backing and the engine of the world’s most sophisticated, powerful, and efficient biotechnology platform: Ginkgo Bioworks. Until recently, the breakthroughs in genomics, DNA synthesis, and synthetic biology were labor intensive, too costly for waste remediation applications, and were largely isolated in the pharmaceutical and specialty ingredient world. But, with the dramatic drop in costs and increase in efficiency of Ginkgo’s Foundry, these tools are now cost effective for waste and remediation applications and undergird all of Allonnia’s innovations.

Second, Allonnia has assembled a best-in-class team with over 150 years of experience operating at the intersection of big industry, synthetic biology, and waste remediation to accelerate the breakthroughs in biological engineering and focus them into existing waste remediation industries and processes.

Third, Allonnia has tremendous partners. Our investors have brought unprecedented levels of funding with network support and insight in this space. Our collaborators, and customers, allow us to go further, faster than any other firm in this industry. But, we are always looking to engage new partners. Are you a policy leader or regulator trying to understand what is possible with new breakthroughs in biology? Are you a remediation service provider interested in learning about the future of your industry? Are you a manufacturer or utility trying to develop scaleable, cost-effective solutions for your remediation challenges? Are you passionate about using technology to heal nature and want to join a fast-growing, dedicated, talented team? If so, we want to hear from you.

At Allonnia we dream of a future where legacy waste has been remediated, the climate is healthy and supports our population, and we live in an economy where post manufacturing and consumer waste are upcycled into new products. These are just some of the reasons why we believe, Waste is a Failure of the Imagination. Our mission is to build the technologies that make waste a thing of the past, and we are looking for likeminded partners to build it with us.




We use advanced biology and progressive technology to engineer breakthrough systems that unlock the potential in waste.