Tom Ford and 52HZ Launch $1.2 Million Prize to Help Combat Plastic Pollution

The designer and creative agency are calling on inventors, scientists, and entrepreneurs to help find an eco-friendly replacement for thin-film plastic.

Tom Ford

Image via Getty/Frazer Harrison

Tom Ford

Tom Ford and 52HZ are on a mission to fight the growing problem of plastic pollution, and they’re offering more than a million dollars to anyone who can assist in that goal.

On Thursday, the American designer and creative agency announced the launch of the Tom Ford Plastic Innovation Prize, a two-year competition that calls on inventors, scientists, entrepreneurs, and designers to present a biodegradable alternative to thin-film plastic. 

“Thin-film plastic enters our lives for a minute, yet continues on as waste, never truly disappearing,”  Dr. Dune Ives, CEO of Lonely Whale, said in a press release. “The origin story of plastic starts with an innovation prize and the solution to the plastic crisis can be found in the tale of its creation. As a campaign organization capable of catalyzing global change on a massive scale, the Tom Ford Plastic Innovation Prize is an opportunity to create another new beginning and promote solutions commensurate with the plastic pollution problem.”

A panel of industry judges—including Ford, Stella McCartney, Don Cheadle, and Susan Rockefeller—will review and vet the submissions as part of the two-year competition phase. The selected finalists will receive support and resources to help bring their scalable and affordable alternative to market by 2025. The grand prize winner will be offered $1.2 million for their work.

According to the Prize, there is currently 11 million metric tons of plastic in the oceans; 46 percent of which is thin-film plastic—a material that is used for resealable storage bags, bubble wrap, and polybags that are commonly used within the fashion industry. 

“Sustainability is a key critical issue in our lives now,” Ford said in a press release. “Plastic pollution is taking one of the greatest tolls on our environment and thin-film plastic makes up 46% of all plastic waste entering our ocean. We will continue to advocate for the adoption of the winning innovations and will do whatever we can to turn the tide of plastic pollution and thin-film plastic specifically. We need to work towards finding a solution before it’s too late to save our environment.”

The Tom Ford Plastic Innovation Prize is accepting applications now through Oct. 24. You can learn more about the contest at its official website.

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