Mar 16, 2023
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Sway, Zerocircle, Notpla win Tom Ford Plastic Innovation Prize

Mar 16, 2023

The Tom Ford Plastic Innovation Prize winners were announced earlier this month at the Green Carpet Fashion Awards (GCFA). 

Sway, Zerocircle, Notpla win Tom Ford Plastic Innovation Prize. - Tom Ford

The global competition, powered by nonprofit Lonely Whale, with title sponsors Tom Ford Beauty and The Estée Lauder Companies, and Trousdale Ventures, aims to source and scale marine-safe and biologically degradable alternatives to traditional thin-film plastic made from fossil fuels.

Three competition winners were selected including Sway, an American company offering seaweed-based, home-compostable replacements for regenerative thin-film plastic packaging at scale; Zerocircle, an India-based company making wildlife and ocean-safe packaging materials from locally cultivated seaweed that dissolves; and Notpla, a London-based start-up on a mission to make plastic waste disappear by pioneering natural- membrane packaging that uses seaweed as an alternative to single-use. 

The competition winners were awarded a $1.2 million 'Prize Purse', a combination cash prize and direct investment, to scale their solutions to replace traditional thin-film plastics, which make up 46% of all plastic waste leaking into the ocean each year. 

A panel of prize judges selected the winners out of eight finalists who were under consideration. In particular, Sway took home $600,000, Zerocircle received $250,000, and Notpla got $150,000, while a Milestone Award of $200,000 was paid out equally to all finalists.  

"We’re honored to receive first place recognition from the Tom Ford Plastic Innovation prize judges as innovators providing a viable alternative to traditional thin-film plastic,” said Julia Marsh, co-founder and CEO, of Sway. 

“At Sway, we’re working to replenish the planet from sea to soil, and, thanks to the support of the Prize, we’re better positioned than ever to scale our solution for fossil fuel-based plastics to meet industry need.” 

“The Winners of the Tom Ford Plastic Innovation Prize continue to inspire me with their commitment to innovate in order to scale marine-safe alternatives, helping to mitigate the 11 million metric tons of new plastic made from fossil fuels that enters the ocean each year," said Lucy Sumner, co-founder of Lonely Whale. 

“The investment and ongoing partnership from Tom Ford Beauty, The Estée Lauder Companies, and Trousdale Ventures underscores the vital need for collaboration to achieve systems change.” 

Looking ahead, Lonely Whale is expected to launch an Innovation Accelerator sponsored by Tom Ford Beauty and The Estée Lauder Companies, designed to ensure prize winners achieve widespread market adoption of their innovative alternatives to traditional thin-film.

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