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Berkeley, Calif., hosts 'Think Beyond Plastic' conference

By: Don Loepp

June 14, 2013

A group called the Plastic Pollution Coalition is wrapping up its Think Beyond Plastic conference in Berkeley, Calif. today. The event was hosted by actor and activist Ed Begley Jr.

The event included a contest for entrepreneurs with products , services, materials and infrastructure solutions "that result in a measurable reduction in plastic pollution."

The winners of the Most Innovative Business award were D-Grade Clothing, a United Arab Emirates-based designer and producer of clothing collections from post-consumer plastic bottles; and Pulp Works, a U.S. compan that makes alternative packaging from pulp. Each received a $10,000 cash prize, plus $5,000 in donated legal service.

The winners of the Most Promising Emerging Business award were BYOB, a Malaysian supplier of bulk cleaning products and refill stations; In.gredients, a U.S.-based grocery store committed to reducing packaging; and Amazi, a digital phone app that helps consumers find water to refill reusable containers. Each received a cash prize of $500.

According to the coalition,  more than 100 business plans were submitted for the award. Judges included some names familiar to Plastics News readers: Mike Biddle of engineering plastics recycler MBA Polymers, and Ramani Narayan, a professor at Michigan State University and an expert on packaging and biodegradability.

The Plastic Pollution Coalition plans to hold a second Think Beyond Plastic competition in 2014.

"We're incredibly excited about the success of the competition and are pleased to announce that Think Beyond Plastic will be an annual event," Executive Director Daniella Russo said in a news release.