New plastics economy innovation prize winners announced

Posted on: 24/01/2018

Designers, entrepreneurs, academics and scientists are rethinking the plastics system with the aim of eliminating plastics packaging waste.


The topic of plastics and their long-term negative impact on the environment has been making frequent appearances in recent headlines, resulting in much greater public awareness of the issue and increased calls for action. The UK¬†government’s¬†25 Year Environment Plan, launched in a speech by Prime Minister Theresa May on 11th January 2018, included a crackdown on plastics with the intention of eliminating all avoidable plastic waste.

Designers, entrepreneurs, academics and scientists have been given an opportunity to rethink the plastics system and eliminate plastics packaging waste, by taking part in the New Plastics Economy Innovation Prize.

The New Plastics Economy is an ambitious, three-year initiative led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation in collaboration with a broad group of leading companies, cities, philanthropists, policymakers, academics, students, NGOs, and citizens.

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This year’s winners

The Circular Design Challenge winners were announced in October 2017 and the  Circular Materials Challenge winners were announced yesterday, at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos.

The winning innovations from these two competitions will join a 12 month accelerator programme, in collaboration with Think Beyond Plastic, working with experts to make their innovations marketable at scale.

The Circular Materials Challenge winners were:

  • University of Pittsburgh -¬†Recyclable, flexible and durable packaging created through nano-engineering.
  • Aronax Technologies Spain -¬†A recyclable, magnetic coating that replaces multi-layered packaging.
  • Full Cycle Bioplastics -¬†Packaging made from wood and plant waste, which can be fed to bacteria and turned into new plastic again.
  • VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland -¬†Packaging that looks and feels like plastic, but is made from wood.
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research -¬†An organic coating for plastic that makes fresh food packaging compostable.

The Circular Design Challenge winners were:

  • MIWA -¬†Delivering groceries without single-use packaging and cutting household plastic waste.
  • Algramo -¬†Access the right amount of product without the need for non-recyclable single-use sachets.
  • Evoware -¬†Seaweed-based packaging that replaces billions of small bits of plastics with a nutrient boost.
  • Delta -¬†An edible or water soluble sachet solution for restaurants and other hospitality businesses.
  • CupClub -¬†A returnable cup ecosystem to replace the 100 billion single-use cups and lids used every year.
  • TrioCup -¬†A one-piece cup that eliminates the need for plastic lids.

You can find out more about the¬†New Plastics Economy Innovation Prize and how to enter next year’s competition¬†here.


If you would like to discuss opportunities and support mechanisms for innovation in the circular economy please contact a member of KTN’s Sustainability & Circular Economy Team.


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