An important step to designing an XPRIZE for innovations in food packaging is identifying the core problems that are causing effective plastic film packaging (conventional and alternatives) to be a detriment to human, biodiversity, and ecosystem health, infrastructure and economic activity, while contributing to global warming.
Here are five core problems we have identified that we believe need to be addressed by a packaging track in a Circular Food Economy XPRIZE. What do you think? Are there any others we should consider?
-Unhealthy | conventional plastics carry physical and toxicological aspects that kill and poison humans, biodiversity and the environment
-Unsustainable | conventional feedstock and some bio-based alternatives depend on unsustainable resources in the long run or at scale and may even impact food security.
Greenwashing | a widespread phenomenon with the majority of biodegradable material claims found as false; while among true material innovation - demonstration of capabilities in a variety of environments has been lacking
-Film is largely unrecycled due to low value
-Majority goes to landfill and alternatives still leak to the environment due to material characteristics
-Lack of public understanding regarding disposal
-Currently non-competitive | with conventional plastics, yet its market growth projection is significant
-Extra cost | special disposal requirements introduce potential extra cost
-Insufficiently comparable functionality to conventional plastic wrap | while considered satisfactory, large corporations seek significant comparability
-Production at scale sustainability | compete with energy and water usage of plastic and oil for plastic
-Production rate | as companies seek minimal disruption to business, they ask for production at scale before investment and product adoption