The Ag Plastics Innovation Challenge seeks to identity solutions that have potential to scale commercially. Winners will receive access to Think Beyond’s program at the Global Entrepreneurship Center to advance their innovations and to demonstrate to Driscoll’s and industry partners that their innovations have the potential to be a viable alternative to the current field plastics. The program will provide mentoring and support, and access to Driscoll’s and industry partners R&D, business and marketing teams. Upon successful completion, innovations will be tested at Driscoll’s and industry partner farms and may be licensed for use in Driscoll’s and industry partners commercial activities.
The Ag Plastics Innovation Challenge seeks to address some of the key contributors to plastic pollution in agriculture: field plastics, specifically plastic mulch film. The Challenge aims to catalyze innovation and to advance the development of the next generation of field plastics as benign and recyclable alternatives to today’s conventional materials.
The Challenge aims to stimulate the development of alternatives to conventionally used field plastics with preference for materials that could be effectively collected, recycled or composted, and assure that none end up in the natural environment, while at the same time have sufficient properties to be used effectively in field operations. The goal of the challenge is to create a model for innovation in line with Driscoll’s commitment to sustainability and innovation.
The Ag Plastics Innovation Challenge is open for innovators and entrepreneurs as well as research institutes, start-ups, small-medium sized enterprises or comparable institutions.
The Challenge has four tracks
New Materials. a completely new material, a new formulation or variant of existing materials, or existing materials used in a new way;
New design. a design modification of films that ensures longevity or recyclability;
New or improved collection and / or recycling methodologies must have documented environmental, economic and performance value and benefits. Of special interest are recycling innovations for field plastics with soil contact (bed mulch, weed mat, and fumigation film) due to their tendency to retain soil and moisture after removal;
Waste-to-energy innovation. Only innovations with proven environmental benefit;
The innovations will be assessed against three main criteria:
Innovation level. Is the innovation unique, distinct and truly original?
Business viability. What is the market potential of the innovation? Is the idea commercially feasible? Can it scale-up?
Sustainability. What is the sustainability impact of the innovation? How is it measured? Can it be proven?
Advantages of the proposed material / approach / design
Ease of sourcing / accessing the material / feedstock and manufacturing the material
Data or estimates of the barrier properties and ruggedness in the anticipated use scenarios
Ease of collection, sorting and recycling / composting
Strength of partner eco-system
Experience of proposer and capacity to execute
Submitted applications will be reviewed in two phases. The most promising innovations will be invited to provide more details in an extended application form. The jury panel will review the extended applications and select the top five Innovation Challenge finalists.
The finalists will receive:
Tailored support: access to Think Beyond’s scale-up services in partnership with the Global Entrepreneurship Centre;
Pilot support: Access to Driscoll’s and industry partners R&D teams for onsite pilots;
Visibility: Promotion via multiple global communication channels;
Networking: An invitation to the annual Think Beyond Investor Forum and Innovation showcase.
Application Deadline: November 30, 2021
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