10 Challenging Plastic Waste Projects to Pitch Ideas to Win EUR 50,000

The European Commission has announced the Finalists for the 2019 European Social Innovation Competition. The three winners of this year’s competition will be announced at an Awards Ceremony on 24 October in Brussels, each to receive EUR 50,000 in prize money. At the same event, the Impact Prize winner will also be announced.

Ten Challenging Plastic Waste projects from nine countries are now competing for three EUR 50,000 prizes:

Apaga (Armenia)

A recycling reward program based on a digital platform to foster community, education and commitment.

Empower (Norway)

A digital plastic waste collection system, through which plastic waste can be deposited for a financial reward.

LAM’ON (Bulgaria)

A 100% biodegradable laminating film made from renewable resources to seal and preserve printed materials.

Luft parcel (United Kingdom)

A returnable parcel enabling online retailers to eliminate single use plastic and other packaging materials for postal deliveries to customers.

MIWA (Czech Republic)

An innovative, financially sustainable circular distribution and sale system for food and non-food products with reusable packaging.

ReciclaGaMe (Italy)

A bio-conversion, self-sufficient system that converts plastic into a sustainable silk material.

ReFeel Good (Portugal)

A delivery refill system for laundry & home care products.

RIS (Slovenia)

Water-soluble shampoo marbles made with natural ingredients.

SpraySafe (Portugal)

An edible spray used on the surface of foods to preserve them, reducing the need for plastic wrapping and containers.

VEnvirotech (Spain)

A biotechnological start-up that transforms organic waste into biodegradable polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) bioplastics using bacteria.

The Awards Ceremony will take place on 24 October at the Albert Hall Complex in Brussels and will see an afternoon dedicated to celebrating great social innovation projects that challenge plastic waste, alongside the Competition’s finalists and experts across Europe.

GEORGIA TODAY spoke to Cedric Solms, Co-Founder of Apaga in Armenia.

“We are very happy about the result and seeing that all the hard work is paying off. Misha [second Co-Founder] called me directly and told me, and we and all our team in Armenia are super excited about this great opportunity and that we have made it so far!” Solms told us. “Our team has worked incredibly hard to get this far in the last year. We have developed new Apaga SmartContainers that allow people to easily recycle their waste and get awesome rewards for it. People just go there, drop in their waste, it gets measured and, based on the weight, they get cool discounts and gifts from over 50 shops in Armenia. We are very grateful especially to our CMO Haik Kazarian and our great new CTO Arshak Ghazarian, without whom we would have never been able to build such an innovative device.”

We asked him what Apaga would do if they win the prize.

“If we win, the money will be spent on further developing the smart container and bringing it to other countries such as Georgia, as well as attracting more new companies to join our platform and get more rewards for people that recycle.”

Launched in memory of social innovation pioneer Diogo Vasconcelos, the European Social Innovation Competition is a challenge prize run by the European Commission across all EU Member States and Horizon 2020 associated countries. Now in its 7th year, the Competition acts as a beacon for social innovators in Europe, employing a proven methodology for supporting early-stage ideas and facilitating a network of radical innovators shaping society for the better. Each year the Competition addresses a different issue facing Europe. This year the focus is: Challenging Plastic Waste.

The 2019 Finalists were selected by an expert Judging Panel from a group of 30 Semi-Finalists who, in turn, had been chosen from a total of 543 applicants from across Europe. All Semi-Finalists participated in the European Social Innovation Competition Academy over the summer; an intensive training and coaching program designed to develop their initiatives.

The Competition is organized by the European Commission with support from Nesta, Kennisland, Ashoka Spain, the European Network of Living Labs, and Scholz & Friends.

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