The Incubation Network’s second annual Global Innovation Challenge: Future of Flexibles has identified innovative solutions that can drastically reduce flexible plastic waste in Asia.
After receiving over 120 applications from 30 different countries, a cohort of 15 enterprising ventures has been selected to participate in a growth programme with mentorship and support to develop their business models from leading industry experts. A judging panel of technical experts, representatives from corporations and organisations in the sector evaluated the applications on geographical relevance and technical feasibility, scalability, social and environmental impact, as well as their team’s capabilities.
The goal of the challenge is to support the development and implementation of real-world solutions for materials that lack financially viable end uses in South and Southeast Asia, such as flexible and multi-layered plastics (MLP).
The flood of hard-to-recycle plastics in Asia
Today, Asia is the fastest growing market for flexible packaging, with over 42 per cent of the global market share1. Flexible plastic packaging is most commonly made from low-density polyethylene (LDPE), polypropylene (PP), or mixed materials and is notoriously difficult to recycle, resulting in very low recycling rates across the region. Such plastics release toxins into the air and waterways when breaking down, and are responsible for increased flooding due to clogged drainage systems. As a result, plastic bags and food wrappers are the second and third most common marine debris, and are the culprit for many environmental and health concerns across Asia.
A two-pronged approach to flexible plastics
A distribution of early-stage startups, mature startups, and small-medium enterprises, the cohorts’ solutions fall within two categories:
- Rethinking flexible single-use plastics, products within the packaging, and business models
- Recycling flexible plastics through downstream innovations in collecting, sorting, processing and end use
“The distributed model offers a balance of solutions to tackle the short-term priority of existing plastic pollution and simultaneously remodel the plastic value chain to pave the way for long-term impact to be delivered. Without over-investing and locking into current technology to support the future of circularity, The Incubation Network aims to empower the future of sustainable innovation towards tackling plastic pollution,” shared Simon Baldwin, Global Head of Circularity, SecondMuse.
The Global Innovation Challenge is supported by SecondMuse, The Circulate Initiative, Alliance to End Plastic Waste, and Global Affairs Canada. To learn more about the challenge and cohort: https://www.incubationnetwork.com/flexibles/
About The Incubation Network
The Incubation Network is an impact-driven initiative that sources, supports and scales holistic innovative solutions to combat plastic pollution through strengthening entrepreneurial ecosystems with a diverse network of key partners.
Part of a highly collaborative community of investors, innovators, partners and programmes, The Incubation Network works together with industry players to tackle key barriers to address plastic leakage and advance a circular economy. This includes sourcing and supporting, to scaling early stage or pre-investment solutions, and connecting compatible ecosystem players to reinforce the value chain in waste management and recycling.
Established in 2019, The Incubation Network is a partnership between non-profit organization, The Circulate Initiative and impact innovation company, SecondMuse. The Incubation Network is open to interested collaborators, corporations, and mentors, looking to address plastic leakage and advance a circular economy in South & Southeast Asia.
For more information, visit: www.incubationnetwork.com.