Innovative Think Beyond Plastic winners revealed


The winners of the Think Beyond Plastic innovation competition have now been revealed. MBA Polymers’ founder Mike Biddle was one of the expert judges and spoke at the recent Think Beyond Plastic conference in Berkeley, California. He and his fellow judges awarded the ‘Most innovative business idea’ to DGrade Clothing (UAE), a designer and producer of clothing made from recycled post-consumer plastic bottles, and PulpWorks (USA), which manufactures sustainable packaging from post-consumer waste paper.

Amazi (USA), the maker of a digital phone app that helps consumers find clean water for reusable containers, BYOB (Malaysia), which offers bulk cleaning products and refill stations, and in.gredients (USA), a grocery store that avoids packaging by asking shoppers to bring their own containers, won ‘Most promising emerging business’.

Think Beyond Plastic invited entrepreneurs in early stage businesses to share examples of disruptive technologies and solutions for tackling the plastic waste crisis. To be in with a chance of winning, entries had to fall into one of three categories: supply chain and infrastructure, source materials and packaging, or products, services or business model innovations. All ideas had to be scalable, while entrants were required to demonstrate a viable business proposition and a keen focus on sustainability.

More than 100 entries were received, and the successful entrants were selected on the basis of their sound business ideas. The judges also considered whether the entry presented a novel solution to a problem that had yet to be addressed, its impact and scalability for a world market, and its ecological and financial sustainability. Additionally, they discussed how simple the solution would be to set in motion and carefully reviewed the company’s growth plan.

Biddle’s co-judges for the competition included Adam Werbach of Yerdle, Adam Lowry of Method, Julie Corbett of Ecologic and Eben Bayer of Ecovative. The ‘Most innovative business idea’ winners each received a $10,000 prize and $5,000 in legal services. Meanwhile, the ‘Most promising emerging business’ winners were presented with a cash prize of $500 from the Plastic Pollution Coalition, and a package of services from Second Line Impact Investors.

“Think Beyond Plastic was a great opportunity for entrepreneurs worldwide to showcase their cutting-edge ideas to a panel of recognised innovators and business experts,” says Mike Biddle, Founder, MBA Polymers. “We were impressed by the high quality of the entries and the commitment, passion and creativity of the entrepreneurs behind them. Many of these businesses will now need external investment to take their ideas to scale.”

Think Beyond Plastic was organised by the Plastic Pollution Coalition, a global alliance working towards a world free of plastic pollution and its harmful impacts on people, animals and the environment.