Think Beyond Plastic

Think Beyond Plastic

3 July, 2017
Global ocean plastic problem
2017 Marine Plastics Innovation Challenge

July is plastic free month. This coincides with the UN Environment and Think Beyond Plastic™ launch of the 2017 Marine Plastics Innovation Challenge, which attempts to engage students and faculties with solutions to solve the global marine litter problem.

The Link Between Plastic Use and Climate Change: Nitty-gritty study estimates that we consume approximately 100 million tons of plastic, equal to the emissions of between 19 million—and possibly up to 92 million—vehicles per year. Plastic shopping bags are filling the guts of whales, spearing the nostrils of turtles and making the fish we eat toxic. Plastic is poisoning us from the inside out: every single day, in the US alone, over 8 trillion microbeads are released into the environment in the form of facial scrubs, toothpaste and other cosmetics.

Take the challenge

The 2017 Marine Plastics Innovation Challenge is open to any university students, excluding employees or contractors of Think Beyond Plastic and the United Nations, who are 18 or above at the time of submissions (June 27, to October 6, 2017); be supported by a faculty member; and submit an entry in one or more of the following categories: design and engineering; communications; monitoring, prediction and recovery; and economic impact.

1. Design and engineering track
Aim for the most innovative engineering solution and a business plan to prevent plastic pollution entering into the marine environment through innovations in material, technology or product design/re-design.

2. Communications track
Creativity is encouraged: entries might be mobile apps, creative communication strategies, music, short film, media, story-telling or any other products that demonstrate capacity to reach and engage large groups of people in addressing the marine plastics issue.

3. Monitoring, prediction and recovery track
This challenge may include areas of high marine litter accumulation, which may vary
with storm events; biodiversity hot-spots; important fishing grounds and/or fish nurseries; and/or particularly sensitive and fragile areas of the marine ecosystem.

4. Economic impact track
This challenge is for the most innovative, accurate, and complete valuation method or model for marine litter effects and a robust and up-scalable model to value the direct (tangible) and indirect (intangible) economic effects of marine litter.

Judging criteria

A distinguished jury panel of experts in these fields will evaluate the applications on the strength of innovation, impact on marine plastics, feasibility, capacity to execute and completeness.

One winner in each category will be announced at the Sixth International Marine Debris Conference in San Diego, California, which will run from March 12–16, 2018. Winners will have the chance to present their ideas at the conference and gain entry into the Think Beyond Plastic annual acceleration program, which provides mentoring and support to help make the winning ideas commercially viable.

The applications will be evaluated in five categories and specifics may vary depending on the track:
​1. Strength of Innovation
2. Impact on marine plastics
3. Scale and Feasibility​
4. Capacity to Execute
5. Completeness

Previous winners

Most Innovative Business: FULL CYCLE BIOPLASTICS
Most Innovative Emerging Business: GROW BIOPLASTICS
Most Innovative Business Idea: NEUWORLD PLASTICS

Follow the Think Beyond Plastic blog to see what they are up to, and to register today for the 2017 Marine Plastics Innovation Challenge.

By: Adriane Rysz


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