This month, the Consortium and Closed Loop Partners finally announced the winners of the Beyond the Bag Innovation Challenge. The worldwide competition launched last year, and it saw some of the US’ leading retailers unite to tackle single-use plastic bag waste.
It’s well known how bad single-use plastic bags are for the environment. The Center for the Circular Economy at Closed Looped estimated that the United States alone uses up to 100 million plastic bags every year, with only 10% actually being recycled. The rest end up in landfill sites, oceans and rivers across the globe.
The competition challenge was a part of a wider initiative, which aims to identify, create and offer new solutions to the standard single-use plastic retail bag. People were asked to develop solutions that could be used in everyday retail scenarios such as:
- Carrying groceries home from stores
- Curbside pick-ups
- In-home delivery
In total, there were over 450 submissions from innovators who wanted to showcase their ideas on how to reinvent the single-use retail bag. Just nine were chosen as the winners of the Beyond the Bag Challenge: ChicoBag, Domtar, Eon, Fill it Forward, GOATOTE, PlasticFri, Returnity, SmartC and Sway.
As well as the $1 million dollars in prize money, the nine winners are also eligible to receive financial support to help them test, pilot and boost the scaling efforts of their innovations. As members of the Circular Accelerator mentorship programme, it’s hoped the winners’ inventions will soon be able to go to market.
Beyond the Bag: Who are the winners?
Let’s take a look at each of the nine winning creations below!
A single ChicoBag in use replaces up to 1040 single-use bags! They’re perfect for shoppers who want a reusable bag but don’t want to take it home. Chicobags can also be borrowed on-site wherever needed.
Through GOATOTE’s kiosks shoppers can ensure that no matter where they are, and how much time they have, they can grab a reusable bag on the go!
Returnity is great for eCommerce brands and retailers, as they’ve designed reusable shipping bags and boxes for products that can be bought online or collected through a pick-up service.
Eon is a fantastic tech innovation that includes a ‘CircularID Protocol’ which provides transparency around the utilisation of reusable bags.
Fill it Forward
With Fill it Forward, consumers can connect their already-owned reusable bags to an app that allows them to track its environmental impact. Users can also give back to charities through the specific tag on their bags.
SmartC is an app, developed by 99Bridges and Envision Charlotte, which reminds consumers to shop responsibly by offering incentives that are tied to their reusable bags.
Domtar is designing and developing its own solution to plastic. They’ve created a durable, stretchable, and recyclable bio-material that is made up of 100% cellulose fiber.
PlasticFri is a new alternative for consumers to use instead of single-use plastic bags. All their products are made with starch-based compostable material.
These bio-based compostable bags are designed to be a carbon-negative and plastic-free replacement to traditional single-use ones. You also might be surprised to know that they’re made from seaweed…crazy, right?
For more details on all the winners, you can take a look at the innovations here.
Further Reading: Plastic vs Compostable Packaging: Which Is Better for the Environment? Read More