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Ellen MacArthur Foundation announces $2m winners for ocean plastic solutions

Earlier this year, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation joined forces with Prince of Wales’s International Sustainability Unit and launched an innovation incentive, asking companies to assist with reducing the amount of plastic waste that ends up in our oceans.

Plastic pollution is becoming a more recognised cause, thanks partly to campaigns such as the UN Environment’s ‘Clean Seas’ and Sky’s ‘Ocean Rescue’ which drew mass media attention over the past twelve months.


After Proctor and Gamble announced that they will be making new dishwasher soap bottles from plastic that ended up in the ocean and DELL revealed that will also begin using the waste material in new products, the Ellen MacArthur foundation called on other businesses to get involved.

They launched two parallel challenges to encourage innovation in the area. Edie reports that “The $1m Circular Design Challenge calls on applicants to issue closed-loop solutions for small-format packaging, such as shampoo sachets, wrappers and coffee cup lids, which account for 10% of all plastic packaging. The $1m Circular Materials Challenge invites innovators to find alternative materials to plastic, which could be recycled or composted.”

Winners included Cup Club, which promoted a reusable coffee cup subscription service and Delta, who designed compostable and recyclable sachets for use in food outlets.

Winners will be part of a large PR campaign, as well as winning a portion of the $2 million fund. They will also receive practical business help and be admitted to a specialist 12-month accelerator platform for commercial guidance and scalability assistance.

P&G introduce Fairy Bottles made from ocean plasticBusinesses are becoming more active on the issue of plastic waste and have woken up to the gravity of the problem. ISL Waste Management client Tesco have announced that they will no longer be issuing single use plastic bags at checkouts. Marks and Spencer have taken various steps to reduce their waste, with projects such as their Thin Air initiative and the phasing out of hard-to-recycle PVC and polystyrene from products and packaging.

Adidas recently released a limited line of trainers, made from 95% recycled ocean plastic, while Unilever have pledged that by 2025 all their packaging will be reusable, recyclable or compostable.