Winners of the 2020 BEYONDPLASTIC Awards, which looked for new designs to eliminate single-use plastic packaging in society, brought innovative and elegant solutions to make common consumer items biodegradable and CO2-free.
The contest, launched by inventor, entrepreneur, and founder of beyondplastic.net, Ulrich Krzyminski, features 4 categories—with gold, silver, and bronze winners in each one.
“The award is directed towards students, designers, engineers, makers, creators, inventors, artists: Everyone who has an idea, concept, prototype, or even a solution already in market, which supports less single-use plastic is welcome to take part,” says Krzyminski.
Next generation bags
Taking gold in the ‘Most Innovative Solution’ category is a bag that dissolves in boiling water. Jack Cleary and the Wastebased team from the United Kingdom call it The Item Bag 2.0—and it belongs in every dry-cleaning store in the world.
Cleary’s goal is to replace polyethylene and polypropylene plastic bags, used to transport virtually every clothing item on the planet, with bags that will biodegrade after they’re discarded.
The Item Bag 2.0 simply dissolves in both saltwater and hot water, leaving behind nothing but bio-ink and some non-toxic minerals which can be poured down the drain. It’s also carbon negative, as opposed to carbon neutral, meaning that the production process of the Item Bag 2.0 removes more carbon from the air than it adds: 100% more, to be precise.
Wastebased also makes compostable e-commerce mail envelopes, as well, which are 100% waterproof but degrade in nature after around 6 months. In addition, the green company plants trees to offset any carbon cost of operations which they can’t make sustainable, and have planted almost 1,000 trees in Ireland, Scotland, Romania, and Madagascar.
A Brazilian team took silver in the category ‘Most Practical Impact’ for their effort to reduce plastics in the classic toothpaste tube, which cannot be reused at all.
An indispensable and daily-used item for all of us, the plastic toothpaste tube received an eco-friendly makeover in the workshops of Coolpaste. Coolpaste is an academic project developed in 2012 by Allan Gomes from the Federal University of Minas Gerais who found there was no decrease in saleability if the cardboard box surrounding the toothpaste tube were removed entirely.
Instead, the tubes become the entire package.
Made of durable cardboard material that is not only sustainable, but biodegradable, it hangs on store shelves via a simple tab, eliminating the paper and chemical inks required to manufacture the boxes.
The sustainability extends even to the cap—which is made from bio-esters derived from things like cornstarch, tapioca roots, and sugarcane.
The BEYONDPLASTIC Award pays out €7,000 total in prize money to all the finalists. Check out all the winners and their products in the Beyondplastic showcase, where potential consumers can learn more and contact the producers to make purchases.