8 innovations that help fight plastic pollution

Plastic waste and pollution now threaten the health and well-being of humans and ecosystems around the world. Every year, of the unimaginable 300 million tonnes of plastic produced, half is turned into single-use items: take-out cups, food packaging, grocery bags, etc. And, every year, eight million more tonnes of this plastic eventually drift or sink into the ocean, adding to what’s already there and taking decades to break down. And the number is not going down – if we don’t act, by 2025 we can expect that number to reach 17 million tonnes per year.

Through the Global Plastic Innovation Network (GPIN), we are building a community of high impact innovators who can help tackle pollution nationally and globally. Dealing with plastic pollution takes creativity – from redesigning packaging and delivery models to implementing new recycling technologies that help manage production and waste management.

To discover innovators around the world, the Global Plastic Action Partnership worked with UpLink to launch GPIN, with the goal of creating a community of innovators working to eradicate plastic pollution. This week, eight new innovators join the network that is leading the way in the fight against plastic pollution. They will receive support through social media visibility and leveraging the Global Plastic Action Partnership’s network to scale up the impact.

Learn more about the eight innovators making an impact on the ground:

Siklus is reinventing the future of retail in Indonesia by delivering top-ups for everyday needs to people’s doors – without plastic waste. They offer an alternative by replacing low-value plastic with charging stations, allowing consumers to purchase household products in any quantity without plastic packaging.

gCycle tackles sustainability in the diaper industry, which contributes to the pollution of landfills and waterways. The solution brings the circular economy to layers and regenerates natural systems. The most recent invention is the world’s first patented fully compostable and disposable diaper.

Plastic Fischer has developed low-tech plastic collection systems for rivers and has already deployed several systems in the Citarum River in Bali. With their low-tech system, their solution is designed to be easily scaled up worldwide.

Diwama provides a hardware and software solution for waste sorting facilities. The technology uses AI-based image recognition software that automates waste analysis, which can be used to optimize waste management.

RiverRecycle offers disruptive methods to modify waste management systems. The solution aims to stem the tide of plastic pollution in rivers by collecting and recycling plastic waste and floating debris while ensuring the livelihoods of local communities.

Waste Bazaar is a clean technology company providing waste collection and recycling services in Nigeria. They have developed a mobile phone application that uses geolocation features to connect users to the nearest recycling station, where recyclable waste can be exchanged for “green credits”.

Wasser 3.0 has developed a fast, efficient and economical solution to remove microplastics and micropollutants from different types of water. The solution uses agglomeration fixation for microplastics and chelation for inorganic compounds.

Uncle is building a system in which communities play a key role in cleaning up their own environment while making a living through an application-based platform. They work closely together and empower local waste pickers to take care of waste management in Indonesia and Cambodia.

The Global Plastic Innovation Network is supported by government funding from the UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Global Affairs Canada.

Bryce K. Locke