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Award for innovations tackling the causes of ocean plastic pollution

We’ve all seen the devastating pictures of the damage plastic pollution is creating in our oceans and it is widely agreed that the solution needs to focus on the causes of the pollution and not just clearing it up.

Announced this week, the 5 winners of the Circular Materials Challenge  awarded by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, will tackle the root causes of plastic pollution with a series of innovative ideas to reduce the amount of plastic we make and use.  It is predicted that the  winners’ innovations could prevent the equivalent of 100 garbage bags per second of plastic waste being created.

The Circular Materials Challenge targeted the lightweight, flexible packaging used in many of our every day products including crisp packets, sauce sachets and fresh coffee.  These products present a challenge for reuse as they are made of multiple layers that are fused together.

The winning innovations focused on using technology to make unrecyclable packaging recyclable and combining materials that nature can handle.

The winners will join a 12 month accelerator programme, in collaboration with Think Beyond Plastic, working with experts to make their innovations marketable at scale.  You can find out more about the winning innovations by visiting the new plastics economy website

These winning innovations show what’s possible when the principles of a circular economy are embraced. Clean-ups continue to play an important role in dealing with the consequences of the waste plastic crisis, but we know we must do more. We urgently need solutions that address the root causes of the problem, not just the symptoms.

– Ellen MacArthur, founder, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation