Winners of the TOM FORD Plastic Innovation Prize, the global competition sponsored by nonprofit Lonely Whale, to source and scale marine-safe and biologically degradable alternatives to traditional thin-film plastic made from fossil fuels, are:
• First Place: Sway, (shown) an American company offering seaweed-based, home-compostable replacements for regenerative thin-film plastic packaging at scale;
• Second Place: Zerocircle, an India-based company making wildlife and ocean-safe packaging materials from locally cultivated seaweed that will dissolve harmlessly in the ocean after use;
• Third Place: Notpla, a London-based start-up inspired by the way nature encapsulates liquids, on a mission to make plastic waste disappear by pioneering natural-membrane packaging that uses seaweed as an alternative to single-use plastic.
A combination cash prize and direct investment was presented by sponsors TOM FORD BEAUTY and The Estée Lauder Companies, and Trousdale Ventures, the exclusive venture capital partner of the competition. The prize aims to support winners to scale their solutions to replace traditional thin-film plastics. Awards were allocated to the winners as follows: Sway, $600,000; Zerocircle, $250,000; and Notpla, $150,000. A milestone award of $200,000 was paid out equally to all finalists in 2022.
The prize aims to support the winners to scale their solutions to replace traditional thin-film plastics, which make up 46% of all plastic waste leaking into the ocean each year.
Also, Lonely Whale will launch an Innovation Accelerator sponsored by TOM FORD BEAUTY and The Estée Lauder Companies, designed to ensure the prize winners achieve widespread market adoption of their innovative alternatives to traditional thin-film.