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"Ocean Plastic Innovation Challenge": a contest in the name of creativity

Updated: Jul 7, 2020

France, Chile and Germany are the winners of this original competition.

The Ocean Plastic Innovation Challenge, organized by National Geographic and Sky Ocean Ventures, is a competition that has involved several teams from all over the world. The main goal was to develop new solutions to deal with the global plastic waste crisis. The numerous participants, with high problem-solving skills, competed to win considerable cash prizes (for a total of 1.3 million dollars) and to bring their projects to life. This challenge among brilliant minds took place during 2019 and focused on three different action strategies aimed at fighting this environmental crisis:

  • Design: projecting valid alternatives to disposable plastic. This strategy identified pragmatic and investable solutions to improve food and beverage packaging and containers. The teams participated in the following categories: food packaging and beverage containers.

  • Circular Economy: identifying opportunities to reduce and reuse industrial plastic waste through the supply chain. The teams competed in the following categories: business model or technological solution.

  • Data visualization: to effectively communicate the need to act through data visualization. This track challenged the teams to represent a set of relevant and credible data related to the global challenge of plastic waste as an information and awareness tool.

Who are the winners?

The winners for each of the three categories have been selected from a group of nearly 300 international teams. They will use the $ 300,000 prize to implement their projects to reduce the amount of disposable plastic in the oceans.

For the "Design" category the winning team is Qwarzo from France. This group has developed an unprecedented technology that provides a new 100% recyclable, biodegradable and compostable material to completely replace disposable plastic in numerous applications, such as coffee spoons, cutlery, straws and other packs. One of the advantages of this new material is that it can be produced at relatively low costs.

The first position in the "Circular economy" category was awarded to the Chilean group Algramo, which is developing a packaging and distribution technology to allow the best consumer brands to sell their products at the lowest possible costs in a convenient, smart and reusable packaging. The project is currently being tested with Unilever Chile.

Finally, the German #PerpetualPlastic team takes the first position in the "Data visualization" category. The team created sculptures and artistic representations using dozens of flip flops abandoned on the beaches of Bali that represent the paths and the destiny of all the plastic materials ever produced.

The Ocean Plastic Innovation Challenge is part of the "Planet or Plastic?" Campaign of National Geographic, a global commitment to significantly reduce the amount of disposable plastic that reaches the ocean by increasing awareness, elevating science and education, promoting innovation and stimulating action.



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