Plastic Free Ocean accelerator
With plastic waste going into the ocean at a rate of 1 garbage truck per minute and a bleak prediction of more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050, the time to act is now. Between January and October of 2018, WWF and Impact Hub Amsterdam joined forces to accelerate start-ups that develop innovative solutions to reduce plastic pollution and plastic leakage into the ocean.
For this 7-month accelerator – which was part of WWF’s efforts to reduce plastic leakage into the ocean by at least 80 percent before 2050 – a group of 7 startups collaborated with Impact Hub and WWF’s combined network of mentors, experts, corporate partners and investors. To participate, start-ups had to focus on one of the following areas of focus:
☐ Preventing or minimising the use of plastics – Developing plastic alternatives, such as sustainable and biodegradable materials
☐ Reusing and recycling – Innovative ways to repurpose plastic waste. These include collecting, sorting, processing and transforming plastic into new products
☐ Consumer activation – Raising public awareness and promote behavioural change with, for instance, campaigns to say ‘no’ to disposable plastic
The following start-ups took part:
- By the Ocean We Unite | A journey to cleaner oceans – Platform focused on raising awareness on the plastic soup
- Ioniqa | Limitless PET recycling – High-tech chemical company contributing to the establishment of a circular economy
- Plastic Road | Modular road structures – Start-up building high-end roads with the help of recycled plastic
- Searious Business | Closing corporate plastic loops – Creating innovative alternatives for the use of plastic for a variety of organisations
- Straw by Straw | Natural straw alternatives – Sustainable substitutes for plastic straws made out of literal straw
- Van Plestik | 3D printing with recycled plastic – Turning plastic waste into valuable objects through 3D-printing
- Upp! | Upcycled construction materials – Repurposing plastic waste as a durable construction material
Through masterclasses, personalised mentorship and other forms of support, the participants gained access to exciting new markets, were able to amplify their positive impact, and developed stronger business propositions. The inspiring initiative ended with a Demo Day, during which all start-ups could pitch their solution to a platform of impact investors, plastic-free pioneers and partners.