Two plastics recycling companies are among six organizations asking for online votes as they vie for top honors at a sustainability award at the upcoming World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Banyan Nation, which is trying to build a socially-responsible plastics recycling business in India, and the Los Angeles-based start-up Bureo, which turns abandoned fishing nets into new products, are both finalists in the People's Choice award in the Circulars, a competition organized by the WEF and the Forum of Young Global Leaders
Global online voting is open until Jan. 17. Winners will be announced at a Jan. 22 ceremony.
Hyderabad-based Banyan Nation said the award will help its effort to push demand for high-quality recycled plastics in India.
"The nomination lends global voice to the regional innovation, a huge opportunity for our circular economy model," said CEO Mani Vajipey. "The vision is to make use of recycled plastics a norm as major brands still prefer virgin plastic and stay away from usage of recycled plastics."
Technology developed by Banyan removes contaminants like metals, paints, dirt and oils from plastics. Most of the plastic recycling and collection in India is done in the so-called informal sector, which in the absence of a proper cleaning process, reduces quality of recycled plastic.
Therefore, demand for recycled plastic is low, compared to developed nations where leading brands use recycled plastics in packaging.
The company said it has ongoing projects like bumper-to-bumper recycling with Indian car producer Tata Motors and shampoo bottles made from recycled plastic for consumer products maker L'Oreal.
The company, which began in 2013 with start-up funding of about $800,000, hopes the recognition can help it grow.
"Currently, we have capacity to recycle 1,200 [metric tons] of plastics annually and we are looking at hiking installed capacity to 10,000 TPA in the next three years," Vajipey said.
The company's 20,000-square-foot plant employs 20 people. Vajipey and his partners left engineering and tech jobs in the United States to start Banyan.