The Ellen MacArthur Foundation has partnered with global innovation firm NineSigma to launch the Circular Materials Challenge, which aims to make all plastic packaging recyclable. The challenge, which is part of the foundation’s $2 million New Plastics Economy Innovation Prize, encourages innovators, scientists and entrepreneurs around the globe to rethink the way plastics are used.
“If we want to effect broad systems change, we need to rethink the way we make plastic items,” said Ellen MacArthur Foundation Founder Dame Ellen MacArthur in a statement. “That’s why we are calling for scientific and technical experts from around the globe to help us keep these materials in the economy, and out of the ocean.”
The foundation will award up to $1 million in grants to up to five winners, who will also have access to The New Plastic Economy Innovation Accelerator, a 12-month program that offers exclusive connections with industry experts, commercial guidance, feedback on user and scalability requirements, advice on performance expectations and entry to innovation labs for testing and development.
“The collective expertise, technologies and support of our business and innovation community is critical to forging this kind of change,” said NineSigma CEO Dr. Andy Zynga in a statement. “We are thrilled to help the Ellen MacArthur Foundation reach experts that can contribute upstream solutions that will redefine the future of plastics in support of a circular economy.”
The judging panel for the challenge is comprised of senior executives from major businesses, widely recognized scientists, designers and academics. The panel will access the challenge entries against a broad range of criteria crafted in collaboration with the challenge partners and participants of the New Plastics Economy initiative.
Challenge entries, which are due by October 20, 2017, at 5:00 p.m. ET, can be submitted at NineSights.com.