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Solutions Replacing Plastics

Transforming our current pattern of plastic production and consumption – produce, use, discard – into a circular system that preserves the value of materials at the end of their use phase is essential from both an environmental and an economic point of view.

In 2020, more than 100 billion tons of natural resources will be extracted, with severe consequences for the climate, including damage to ecosystems, rapid loss of biodiversity, and even shortages of drinking water. At the same time, 2 billion tons of municipal waste will be generated, polluting our rivers, seas and oceans.

Recycling alone will not be able to overcome these problems. We must switch from fighting the symptoms and cleaning up the mess, to addressing the root causes. This is especially relevant for plastics as most countries are still far from having functioning ‘closed material cycles’. Successful change must start at the beginning of the value chain. Innovative solutions to replace unsustainable, fossil fuel-based plastics will play an important role in this transformation, and they must also explore systemic behavioural and material changes. 

Bio-based materials will be part of the solution. Produced with respect for the environment, these materials will result in less unrecyclable waste and can be reintegrated into organic material cycles – the original circular economy. They will also generate socio-economic welfare in the locations they are produced.

Currently, a PET bottle takes 450 years to degrade, and a fishing line around 600 years. It is obvious that this system is not sustainable and creates massive burdens for future generations.

Our commitment

As a grant Foundation, we support organisations with approaches to circular solutions to solving the plastic crisis that are not only innovative, but also make good business sense. We back projects that go beyond clean disposal or just managing waste at the ‘end of the pipe’, but actively strive to be part of the movement accelerating the transition to a circular economy. We focus on projects that aim to develop and incorporate environmentally friendly materials from the very start of their production chain, keeping in mind the full life cycle of the products. If our current plastic waste is collected, it should be ‘upcycled’ and turned into alternative high-quality products - the alternative solution we want to add to simple recycling. Our partners present business models designed to meet the demands of the circular economy in every step of production. We back solutions focused organisations that accelerate the pace of change and adopt pro-business technologies and ideas. They demonstrate entrepreneurial flair and pioneering methods in repurposing products in an environmentally friendly way. We partner with non-profit organisations and, in exceptional cases, social enterprises that have a similar mission to the Foundation.
 

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