8 inspiring innovations tackling plastic pollution

Innovation and collaboration are key to creating a future free of plastic pollution.

Innovation and collaboration are key to creating a future free of plastic pollution. Image: Unsplash

Poonam Watine
UpLink Project Specialist, Innovation Ecosystems, World Economic Forum
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  • The Global Plastic Innovation Network unveils its second cohort of geographically diverse innovators tackling plastic pollution, of which 50% are female-led.
  • The bold innovations offer key solutions to tackling plastic pollution, including waste prevention, alternative materials, waste management, and improved transparency of plastic supply chains.
  • Innovation and collaboration are key to creating a future free of plastic pollution.

Eight million tonnes of plastic waste leaks into the ocean every year, and urgent action is needed to tackle this problem. Under the ‘business-as-usual’ scenario, the volume of waste entering the environment will increase by three times by 2040.

On 2 March 2022, 175 countries endorsed a resolution at the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5) to start negotiations on an international legally binding agreement to eliminate plastic waste and pollution in the environment. The resolution highlights the importance of sustainable production and consumption of plastics, including resource efficient and circular economy approaches.

To accelerate this effort, the Global Plastic Action Partnership launched the Global Plastic Innovation Network on UpLink to identify high-impact innovators tackling plastic pollution. Now, it's announcing its second cohort of geographically-diverse innovators addressing the plastic crisis, of which 50% are female-led.

Innovators that are helping to reduce or prevent plastic pollution

The focus areas of the Global Plastic Innovation Network are based on: waste prevention, alternative materials and product design, waste management and recovery, ecosystem data and transparency, and engaging society.

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

Angirus offer environmentally sustainable bricks made from recycled plastic waste in India weighing less than 1kg with the equivalent strength to clay bricks. Compared to conventional clay bricks, Angirus bricks require one day of manufacturing and can be made available in any shape and size.

Again specialises in building decentralised reusable packaging cleaning infrastructure in North America and Europe. Their 'CleanCell' solution is designed to receive, soak, de-label, wash, clean, dry, inspect, scan and stack packaging allowing for redistribution.

RecyclePoints developed a point-based incentive model for recycled plastic in Nigeria. Consumers can then exchange their points to redeem household items offered in their iRecycle stores.

BD Waste Recycling Services facilitate the recovery of plastic waste from urban communities in Ghana by allowing consumers to request plastic waste pick-ups at their convenience in exchange for digital coins, which can be exchanged for food items, stationery and health insurance.

Mi Terro are based in North America and have created home compostable biomaterials made from plant-based agricultural waste as an alternative to single-use plastic and paper materials.

PlastX helps corporates to meet their packaging commitments with responsibly-sourced PRC plastic in Asia by offering a digital platform to engage with collectors to ensure transparent plastic supply chains.

Toynovo repairs and resells toys, baby equipment and educational material to ensure a more circular solution to the toys industry in Colombia due to the 80% of toys that end up in landfills.

Orgro Fibre offer a sustainable, eco-friendly and alternative to plastic bags for the farming ecosystem in India. The Orgro Fibre saplings and bags are made of wool, banana fibre, sugarcane, jute and other agrowaste materials.

We have a long journey ahead of us and we need bold solutions to help curb the plastic waste crisis. These inspiring innovators will join a growing community of UpLink innovators with access to a range of benefits, including increased visibility, connections with relevant partners and networking opportunities.

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