"“I believe when we bring together all the stakeholders—large corporations, entrepreneurs, startups, and universities - you can create real change. By devoting resources and attention to this global issue of plastic waste, we can make a difference in the environment. Through this platform, I commit to spend more of my time on sustainability-focused initiatives and will invest in 20 startups in this space per year,”"
Every year, we lose up to US$120 billion* when plastic packaging is not recycled. After a short first use, just 14% of plastic packaging is collected for recycling, and – due to losses in sorting and processing – only 5% of material value is retained. The recycling rate for all plastics, other than packaging, is even lower. Despite this, plastic is the most commonly used material in packaging, especially in consumer goods.
*World Economic Forum January 2016
This is an issue – valuable resources are being wasted, only 2% of plastic production is sourced from recycled plastic. Worse, plastic waste is polluting our environment, with a third of plastic packaging waste leaking out of collection systems and being left in our environment.
To solve this problem, we need innovative solutions from the next generation of great thinkers. That’s why the Alliance organised the End Plastic Waste Innovation Platform, together with Plug and Play. This platform will focus on supporting startups across the globe to innovate in the plastic waste management space, tying back to the Alliance’s innovation pillar.
The first of its kind, the platform will host six accelerator programmes, two in each of the regional hubs – Silicon Valley, Paris and Singapore. The Top 10 startups from each region will be selected for 90-day incubation periods in each hub, where they will have access to resources and expertise from our members, representing a cross-section of the plastics value chain.
Ten startups from the Americas have been selected, and are in the midst of their accelerator programme. They include companies like Oceanworks, AMP Robotics, and Litterati, who have cumulatively raised over US$5 million.
In Paris, 11 startups from around Europe have been chosen, with a range of solutions such as The Great Bubble Barrier, who plans on clearing plastic pollution in oceans with bubbles, and Greyparrot, which uses AI to sort waste at scale. These 11 will start their accelerator programme at the end of April.
In Singapore, applications are still open for startups across Asia-Pacific, with the accelerator programme beginning later in the summer.
Much like the rest of the world, the End Plastic Waste Innovation Platform has had to pivot in light of COVID-19. The Silicon Valley accelerator programme is being conducted virtually, and has been extended from 90 days to 180 days. The Paris selection day was conducted virtually, with the founder dialling in to pitch to our panels. We hope to continue innovating all around the world, and overcome these challenges together.