8 inspiring innovations that are helping to fight plastic pollution 

Every year, eight million tonnes of plastic pollution ends up drifting or sinking in the ocean.

Every year, eight million tonnes of plastic pollution ends up drifting or sinking in the ocean. Image: TONTOTON

Poonam Watine
UpLink Project Specialist, Innovation Ecosystems, World Economic Forum
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  • Plastic pollution is a global problem, threatening both the health of humans and ecosystems all over the world.
  • In June 2021, the Global Plastic Action Partnership and UpLink launched the Global Plastic Innovation Network (GPIN).
  • The initiative aims to source innovative solutions to help stem the devastating flow of plastic pollution.

Plastic waste and pollution are now threatening the health and well-being of humans and ecosystems the world over. Every year, out of an unimaginable 300 million tonnes of plastic produced, half is made into single-use items: takeaway cups, food wrappers, grocery bags and more. And, every year, another eight million tonnes of this plastic ends up drifting or sinking in the ocean, adding to what’s already there and taking decades to break down. And the figure isn’t going down – if we do not take action, by 2025 we can expect this number to increase to 17 million tonnes per year.

Through the Global Plastic Innovation Network (GPIN), we are building a community of high impact innovators that can help tackle pollution at the national and global level. Dealing with plastic pollution demands creativity – from re-designing packaging and delivery models to implementing new recycling technologies that help address waste production and management.

To discover innovators around the world, the Global Plastic Action Partnership collaborated with UpLink to launch GPIN, aiming to build a community of innovators working to eradicate plastic pollution. This week, eight new innovators are joining the network that is paving the way to tackle plastic pollution. They will receive support through visibility on social media and leveraging the network of the Global Plastic Action Partnership to scale impact.

Innovations that are fighting plastic pollution

Learn more about the eight innovators that are making an impact on the ground to fight plastic pollution:

Siklus is reinventing the future of retail in Indonesia by delivering refills of everyday needs to people's doors - without plastic waste. They offer an alternative by replacing low value plastic with refill stations, allowing consumers to buy household products in any quantity without plastic packaging.

gCycle is tackling sustainability in the nappy industry, which contributes to polluted landfills and waterways. The solution brings the circular economy to nappies and regenerates natural systems. The newest invention is the world’s first patented fully compostable and disposable nappy.

Plastic Fischer have developed a low-tech plastic collection systems for rivers and have already deployed several systems in the Citarum River in Bali. Thanks to their low-tech system, their solution is designed to be easily scaled around the world.

Diwama provides a hardware and software solution to waste-sorting facilities. The technology uses AI-based image recognition software that automates waste analysis, which can be used to optimize waste management.

RiverRecycle offers disruptive methods to alter waste management systems. The solution seeks to stem the tide of plastic pollution in rivers by collecting and recycling plastic waste and floating debris while providing a livelihood for local communities.

Waste Bazaar is a clean-tech providing waste collection and recycling services in Nigeria. They have developed a mobile-phone app that uses geolocation functionalities to connect users to the nearest recycling station, where recyclable waste can be exchanged for “green credits”.

Wasser 3.0 have developed a solution that is quick, efficient and cost-effective to remove microplastic and micropollutants from different types of water. The solution uses agglomeration fixation for microplastics and chelation for inorganic compounds.

TONTOTON is building a system in which the communities play a key role in cleaning their own environment while earning a livelihood through a certified plastic credit system. They work closely and empower local waste pickers to address plastic pollution in Vietnam and Cambodia.

The Global Plastic Innovation Network is supported by Government funding from the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Global Affairs Canada.

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