This start-up has just won £1m for its algae-based plastic alternative

More than six billion tons of unprocessed plastic to lose now litter our streets and fill our seas. Only 6% of all plastic ever produced was recycled and 12% incinerated.

Global awareness of the problem is growing and many are looking for a truly sustainable alternative.

The founders of London start-up Notpla think they have an answer. Pierre Paslier and Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez found their solution in the sea. Their plastic alternative is made from algae and plants.

It is totally natural, fully biodegradable and can be used to make a range of packaging bubbles to retain liquid at food container liners.

Where did the idea for Notpla come from?

“It all started with a little experiment in our kitchen,” says Paslier.

“We wanted to make artificial fruit. We were really inspired by how nature creates these elegant shapes and uses all these natural materials and how we could translate that into packaging.

Eventually they came across seaweed and I found it to be really interesting material. This is how the idea of ​​Notpla was born.

The founders of Notpla Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez and Pierre Paslier. – The Earthshot Prize

Since 2014, they’ve made 36,000 capsules filled with sports drinks to give to runners in the 2019 London Marathon. They’ve also created over a million takeaway boxes for Just Eat and have the potential to replace more than 100 million plastic coated containers in Europe in the future.

Algae also capture carbon twenty times faster than trees and their farms boost fish populations, creating new opportunities for local communities.

Notpla just won the Earthshot award

The founders of Notpla have just won the Earthshot award in the “Build a Waste-Free World” category.

Created by Prince William, the competition rewards five winners for their contributions to the environment, with each receiving £1million (€1.2million) to continue their efforts.

Earthshot Prize

Notpla winning the Earthshot award. – Earthshot Prize

It was inspired by US President John F Kennedy’s Moonshot, which brought millions of people together in an effort to reach the moon. Similarly, the Earthshot Prize encourages innovative solutions to the climate crisis.

Notpla says the money will go towards research and development as well as expanding their commercialization.

Watch the video above to learn more about Notpla’s plastic alternative.

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