Trending: Fashion, Beverage Industries Continue to Advance Solutions to Plastic Waste


The $1.2M Tom Ford Plastic Innovation Prize seeks scalable, alternative solutions for thin-film plastic; while Paboco has eliminated plastic from
Absolut’s bio-based beverage bottle, making it fully recyclable.

Tom Ford, 52HZ offer $1.2M prize for plastic film alternatives

Image credit: Plastic Innovation Prize

Submissions are now open for the Tom Ford Plastic Innovation
to foster scalable alternative solutions for
thin-film plastic — a ubiquitous packaging material for fashion and ecommerce,
which accounts for 46

of all ocean plastic leakage.

In December 2019, Fashion for Good launched its Circular Polybag

— an industry-first trial in partnership with
adidasC&AKeringOtto Group and PVH Corp aiming to
develop a truly circular solution for the roughly 180 billion virgin polybags
produced to store, transport and protect garments, footwear and accessories each

Now, the Plastic Innovation Prize is hoping to make its own dent in the problem. Powered by award-winning
filmmaker and fashion designer Tom Ford and
52HZ — a strategy and behavior change agency
recently launched by Lonely Whale, it is the only material science
innovation competition that incentivizes the creative development and adoption
of affordable and scalable alternatives to thin-film plastic. The two-year
competition, followed by three years of support for competition finalists,
offers a purse total of more than $1 million. By bringing investors, major
brands and other partners together in an action-focused coalition, the Plastic
Innovation Prize will offer dedicated support to help finalists reach scale and
market adoption by 2025, creating an inflection point in the fight against
plastic pollution.

“Sustainability is a key, critical issue in our lives now,” Ford says. “Plastic
pollution is taking one of the greatest tolls on our environment and thin-film
plastic makes up 46 percent of all plastic waste entering our ocean. We will
continue to advocate for the adoption of the winning innovations and will do
whatever we can to turn the tide of plastic pollution and thin-film plastic
specifically. We need to work towards finding a solution before it’s too late to
save our environment.”

Today, just two products — single-use, resealable sandwich storage bags and
plastic polybags used by the fashion industry — represent over 300 billion
thin-film plastic bags disposed of annually. The Plastic Innovation Prize will
enable finalists to bring biodegradable thin-film plastic alternatives to
market, so the ocean does not continue to pay the price of these products.

“Thin-film plastic enters our lives for a minute, yet continues on as waste,
never truly disappearing,” says Lonely Whale CEO Dr. Dune Ives. “The origin
story of plastic starts with an innovation prize, and the solution to the
plastic crisis can be found in the tale of its creation. As a campaign
organization capable of catalyzing global change on a massive scale, the Tom
Ford Plastic Innovation Prize is an opportunity to create another new beginning
and promote solutions commensurate with the plastic pollution problem.”

An esteemed panel of judges from the arts, fashion, finance and nonprofit
worlds, led by Ford, will vet and stress-test submissions and ensure they are
scalable and market-ready by 2025. Judges will work in tandem with a
distinguished panel of scientific and technical experts from fields such as
materials science, ocean health, and product development — including Dr.
Ramani Narayan
, University Distinguished Professor at Michigan State
in the Department of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science. To
ensure that the thin-film alternatives sourced through the prize are capable of
solving the dramatic impact of thin-film plastics on our ocean, the prize
evaluation criteria includes a comprehensive set of lab and field testing
analyses conducted in partnership with the BioseniaticSM Laboratory at the
UGA New Materials Institute.

The Tom Ford Plastic Innovation Prize Investment Alliance will be chaired by
investor Matt Grossman; and judges include actor Don Cheadle; Audrey
, Chief Marketing Officer and Chief Sustainability Officer at Morgan
; Livia Firth, founder and Creative Director of Eco-Age; Dr.
Andrew Forrest AO
, founder of Minderoo
Saskia van Gendt, Head of Sustainability at Rothy’s; designer Stella
; and
TerraCycle founder and CEO Tom

Submissions to the Tom Ford Plastic Innovation Prize are open today through
October 24, 2021. Learn more about submission guidelines and prize rules at

Paboco reveals prototype of next-generation paper bottle

Image credit: Paboco

Meanwhile, Paboco — the Paper Bottle Community
has reached an important milestone: a first prototype of the next-generation
paper bottle.

It all began in 2015, when Carlsberg kicked off its own
project to
develop a bottle made from sustainably sourced wood fibers, alongside innovation
experts ecoXpac, packaging company Billerudkorsnäs and post-doctoral
researchers from the Danish Technical University. These combined efforts
resulted in the emergence of Paboco® (the Paper Bottle Company)
— a joint
venture between
BillerudKorsnäs and bottle manufacturing specialist Alpla — and the
corresponding paper bottle community (which now also
The Absolut Company, The Coca Cola Company and
that unites the participating global companies and experts with the with a goal
to change the industry for good by developing recyclable and 100 percent
biobased paper bottles at scale.

Absolut made headlines last fall when it announced the development of a
for a fully recyclable paper bottle, comprised of 57 percent paper and 43
percent recycled plastic (PET) barrier. Now, Paboco has says it has eliminated
the plastic and fully integrated the barrier — the coating that separates the
liquid from the paper — into the paper bottle itself.

“This milestone is for Paboco the next and most exciting step on our innovation
journey to deliver recyclable and fully biobased paper bottles,” said Paboco CTO
Florian Müller. “We have invested for 2 years into this development and are
proud to present the first prototype now. We know there is still a lot of work
ahead to offer this at scale, but each step brings us closer to that target.”

The plastic barrier film has been replaced with a fully integrated bio-based
barrier coating, which will significantly decrease the bottle weight; and a
paper thread has been integrated so the closure (still in development) can be
applied directly onto the bottle. The bottle will be able to be recycled as
paper in the paper recycling stream.

Now that Paboco has a proven prototype that works for liquid, the next phase
is to finalize the closure solution and conduct joint quality testing with our
partners and their respective products. Absolut still expects its
first-generation bottles to be on shelves for testing in 2021 to collect
learnings throughout the value chain from supply, logistics, consumer
experience, recycling etc; with the next generation expected to be on shelves by

And with fellow spirits giants
also developing plant-based bottle solutions of their own, we’re looking forward
to expanding our selection of ways to imbibe sustainably.


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