As Plastic-free July winds down its final days, we want to show you some the award-winning innovations of BEYOND PLASTIC. Many of these creative solutions are from the UK and Brazil and can help to inspire us here.
BEYONDPLASTIC.NET, a global initiative dedicated to reducing the use of single-use plastics, has announced the winners of its 2020 BEYOND PLASTIC Awards.
The initiative was launched in 2019, by Ulrich Krzyminski, as a politically and commercially independent online platform for environmentalists, packaging designers, engineers, and companies to present and exchange ideas, concepts and products of eco-responsible solutions replacing plastic packages.
The Awards honor “the innovation and creativity in sustainable design” in four categories:
- Most Practical Impact to Reduce the Use of Plastics
- Most Innovative Approach
- Most Beautiful Solution
- Best Initiative in Education/Journalism/Campaigning.
Gold, silver, and bronze winners are recognized in each category.
Below we highlight the winners from two categories.
Most Practical Impact to Reduce the Use of Plastics Winners
“Unpack Less, Peel More,” by Elena Amato & Caroline Pagnan, Brazil
This packaging system was created for locally handmade personal care products. The project consists of a collection of five different packages, each of them with three layers. The internal layer is the personal care product – such as face cream, deodorant, facial clay, etc. The second layer is made of solid natural soap and serves as a container for the previous layer. And the external layer is made out of bacterial cellulose, which was developed through experimental processes of biofabrication with residual SCOBYs from kombucha producers; it protects the soap and contains the information of the product. “The packaging system reproduces the structure of a fruit, juice – pulp – peel.”
“Coolpaste,” by Allan Gomes, Brazil
Coolpaste was created with the aim of developing a sustainable packaging design for toothpaste – in a way that did not affect durability. Coolpaste uses impermeable cardboard, and the cap of the tube is also biodegradable, made from Polylactide (PLA), a bioplastic derived from renewable resources, such as corn starch, tapioca roots, starch, or sugarcane.
“Waxy,” by Mohamed Hassan Mahamad, Mohamed Abdirashid Farah, Shamso Hussein & Ecosoc, Somalia
This team created a chemical-free and energy-conserving plastic extrusion technology called “Waxy II Technology” in order to recycle and transform waste plastics, packaging materials and agricultural waste into durable and environmentally friendly roof tiles, interlocking bricks, paving stones and plastic lumbers. The finished products are durable, cost effective, aesthetically pleasing, insect resistant and easy to work with.
Most Innovative Approach Winners
“The Item Bag 2.0: Packaging That Dissolves!” by Jack Cleary & the Wastebased Team, United Kingdom
The Item Bag 2.0 is a biodegradable, non-toxic, carbon-negative storage bag made from a polymer similar to the material used to coat dishwasher/laundry tablets, and it dissolves in boiling water. This project sought to tackle the problem of poly bags in the fashion industry, which are normally made from polyethylene or polypropylene. “Almost every piece of clothing goes in a poly bag at some point, and often items will move from poly bag to poly bag as they make their way to the consumer, resulting in a lot of invisible plastic consumption.” The team behind the Item Bag 2.0 notes that, “We offset 200% of the carbon footprint of each bag, so each one is drawing CO2 out of our atmosphere instead of adding to it.”
“The Shellworks,” by Insiya Jafferjee, Amir Afshar Edward Jones, United Kingdom
The Shellworks creates packaging for the cosmetic, beauty, fashion, and retail industries from food waste. Its first products are bottle caps, jars and pots, and secondary packaging (trays, boxes). Ninety percent of its products are made from waste sources such as shellfish waste, food waste or waste fibers. And, to measure their impact, the team has four key metrics: “measure how much plastic we are replacing; measure how much waste we are repurposing; quantifying how much faster our degradation is to other plastics; and documenting our Life Cycle Analysis to ensure we make sustainable decisions across our supply chain.”
“PLANT plASTIC!” by Cinzia Ferrari, United Kingdom
This packaging material doesn’t contain any toxic ingredients and doesn’t become waste. Instead, at the end of its use, it takes a new life form by growing into a plant. “Packaging is not a passive dead matter anymore. It is alive and contributes to a better environment: By growing into a plant, CO2 is absorbed from the air and single-use packaging consumption is reduced as the user will grow fresh products as tomatoes that are normally sold wrapped in plastic.” The material is made of sodium alginate, plant seeds and Azospirillum Brasilense, which is a soil bacterium harmless to humans. The packaging is dry and organically inactive, becoming active again only when it is planted into soil.
Innovation is nothing new in the packaging world, but these creative plastic alternatives and campaigns deserve another round of applause.