Accelerating Innovation to Tackle Plastic Waste
Finding answers to our planet’s plastic waste issues will take innovation and investment across the waste management value chain. The Alliance to End Plastic Waste has joined forces with Silicon Valley-based Plug and Play Tech Centre to help kick-start innovation to help minimize plastic waste, make recycling and recovering plastics easier, and create value from post-use plastics.
Together, the Alliance and Plug and Play have launched an online End Plastic Waste Innovation Platform that connects large companies such as Dow with innovative startups in Silicon Valley and beyond. The first-of-its-kind platform is hosting six accelerator programs in three regional hubs – two each in Silicon Valley, Paris and Singapore.
Startup accelerators support early-stage, growth-driven companies through education, mentorship and financing. Dow, as a founding member of the Alliance is lending its support and expertise.
“Learning by doing is vital to the process of scaling ventures, and the point of accelerators is to speed along the life cycle of young, innovative companies to help them successfully build and grow,” said Mike Witt, corporate director of Plastics Circular Economy at Dow.
ADVANCING AND SCALING NEXT-GENERATION SOLUTIONS
The top startups chosen from each region are selected for incubation periods between 90 to 180 days in each hub, where they have access to resources and expertise from Alliance members, who represent a cross-section of the plastics value chain. Each program ends with a Demo Day, where Plug and Play and Alliance members have the opportunity invest in participants.
Launched in January 2019, the Alliance was founded to help solve this serious and complex issue of plastic waste entering the ocean. To date, nearly 50 companies across the plastics value chain have joined the Alliance and, together, members have committed to invest $1.5 billion toward solutions that will prevent plastic waste leakage as well as recover and create value from used plastic. Learn more.
The goal of the End Plastic Waste Innovation Platform is to identify and nurture transformative approaches to collecting and sorting waste, recycling and creating value from post-recycled plastics. Winning businesses range from a company that uses artificial-intelligence-driven robotic systems to sort recyclables to a startup that has designed a solution to intercept plastics in river and canals before it reaches the ocean.
- In Silicon Valley, 10 selected projects are participating in the accelerator program. The startups include companies such as Oceanworks, which connects the commercial demand for recycled plastics with trusted suppliers globally, and Litterati, which empowers people to crowd-source cleanups.
- In Paris, 11 startups from across Europe have been selected. Companies include The Great Bubble Barrier, which plans on using air bubbles to clear plastic from the oceans, and Greyparrot, which uses AI to sort waste at scale.
- In Singapore, the accelerator program began this summer.
The project supports the Alliances’s commitment to innovation and addresses the challenge of ending plastic waste in an approach that is globally coordinated and potentially game-changing.
“Innovation is at the core of the Alliance. This partnership has a unique approach to identifying and supporting startups and innovations across the globe to fundamentally transform current waste management practices through new recycling technologies and by creating value for recycled plastics,” said Jacob Duer, AEPW’s president and CEO.
Learn more about how Dow is collaborating to support a circular economy in our 2019 Sustainability Report.