Love them or hate them, plastics are everywhere around us. In fact, demand for them is expected to double in the next 20 years. Yet our plastics system is broken. Only 14% is recycled, resulting in a loss of USD 80-120 billion per year to the global economy. Most plastic items are used only once before being discarded, often ending up polluting the environment. If nothing changes, there could be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050.
So, how do we fix this? If we want to free our ocean from plastics, we have to do more than just cleaning up. We have to fundamentally rethink the way we make, use and re-use plastics so that they don’t become waste in the first place. To do this, we need better materials, clever product designs and new, circular business models. That’s why we launched the $2m New Plastics Economy Innovation Prize in May 2017.