Euro Entrepreneurs Take on Plastic Fantastic Challenge

Download the Plastic Fantastic Infographic here.

Enviu and Impact Hub have launched the Plastic Fantastic Challenge across Europe, with special events taking place in Rotterdam, Munich, Athens, London, Stockholm and Bucharest. 

The initiative invites young entrepreneurs, industry and environmental experts to co-create game-changing business concepts that can drastically reduce plastic packaging waste. In a society where plastic is ubiquitous and omnipresent we are confronted with a "plastic paradox." Plastic products help us protect and preserve food and other spoilable products better, which prevents waste. But the hazardous impact of plastic products has turned into an environmental disaster, as our oceans ended up as a dumpsite. According to Science [1}, around 8 million tonnes of plastic waste entering the world’s oceans every year.

Today, 63 percent of all plastic waste originates from plastic packaging, which is primarily designed for single-use. [2] 

“This issue is too big to solve on our own. In order to change a billion-euro industry, we need to work together with both the industry, experts, entrepreneurs and top universities in Europe”, says Stef van Dongen, founder and CEO of Enviu. “It will require the cooperation and co-creation of different stakeholders to come up with system-changing concepts.” 

Gabriela Gandel, global managing director at Impact Hub, shares this belief. "Collaboration across sectors and geographies is the only way to confront an issue of this magnitude," she said. "This cross-Europe challenge offers key support to entrepreneurs both on and offline, bringing great ideas forward and ensuring that the most promising are realised".

The ocean plastic problem has never been more visible on the public agenda, especially since young entrepreneur Boyan Slat started his Ocean Cleanup Project.

The political legislative process is traditionally slow, especially when a very strong lobby is influencing it. NGO programs deal primarily with public awareness. At the same time the plastic and packaging industry leaders are making pledges for a more sustainable future, but the reality is that cost is still by far the biggest driver in packaging innovation.

The Plastic Fantastic Challenge is unique in its inclusive approach; inviting both plastic haters, as well as plastic industry wonks, to work together toward sustainable solutions in order to reduce plastic waste.

The idea, In short, is simple: Love Plastic, Not Waste. 

The Plastic Fantastic Challenge is targeted at young entrepreneurs and students, as well as experts and professionals in industry, science and the environment. But everyone can join this European open innovation competition by subscribing, sharing and contributing to the business concepts that can be posted on www.plasticfantasticchallenge.org.

The call for innovative business ideas is open until Dec. 14th 2015. In the consecutive phases of the challenge, ideas are matched, teams are formed and concepts are further improved upon, with the support of an expert community.

The best teams are rewarded with a three-day intensive bootcamp at a central location in Europe. During this bootcamp the teams are coached and supported in perfecting their plans, before presenting them to a final jury. Final winners are awarded cash prizes and membership to their local Impact Hub for further mentoring and access to investors.

About Enviu

Enviu starts world-changing companies. They want the global economy to be inclusive and serve people and planet. Enviu is initiating mass collaboration and impact-driven entrepreneurship with products and services that improve the quality of life for large groups of people. Enviu is a partner for NGO’s, corporate foundations and family offices.

About Impact Hub

Impact Hubs are where change goes to work. Part innovation lab, part business incubator, and part community center, they offer members a unique ecosystem of resources, inspiration, and collaboration opportunities to grow impact. They believe a better world evolves through the combined accomplishments of creative, committed and compassionate individuals focused on a common purpose. 

More information on the Plastic Fantastic Challenge, Enviu or Impact Hub is available through Enviu communications. Contact Emiel Eigenraam   +31 6365 00 513 or emiel@enviu.org.


References

[1] Jambeck et al. (2015), Plastic waste inputs from land into the ocean, Science, 347 (6223), 768-771; [2] Deloitte (2015), Increased EU Plastics Recycling Targets: Environmental, Economic and Social Impact Assessment, Plastic Recyclers Europe