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Competition Aims to Unlock ‘Innovation’ in Sustainable Protective Packaging

The Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC) has launched the Protective Packaging Design Challenge, an open competition for innovators, entrepreneurs and startups to submit new ideas for sustainable protective packaging solutions.

The SPC said protective packaging is vital to guarding products during transport, but often consists of material that is non-recyclable or derived from unsustainable sources. The coalition noted that there are few solutions that can safely transport items in complex retail environments that also embody excellence in sustainability.

The challenge aims to discover and showcase solutions that can be scaled for this packaging pain point, SPC said. The scope of the competition includes all systems used for transporting products, with a focus on packaging that can protect different product types and address multiple environmental impacts.

“We’ve seen tremendous innovation in protective packaging and we’re excited to see what new developments are coming,” Adam Gendell, SPC associate director, said. “Brand owners and retailers are hungry for new solutions.”

The SPC is a membership-based collaborative that believes in the power of industry to make packaging more sustainable. Its mission is to bring packaging sustainability stakeholders together to catalyze actionable improvements to packaging systems and lend an authoritative voice on issues related to packaging sustainability.

SPC’s co-host partner Ubuntoo is an environmental solutions platform with more than 700 solutions to plastic pollution, textile and food waste. The challenge also includes Closed Loop Partners, an investment firm focused on building the circular economy, as an associate partner. The Retail Industry Leader Association’s (RILA) Retail Innovation Center, which helps connect retailers to innovators, and is also joining the group as an affiliate partner.

Challenge judges include experts from the SPC, Closed Loop Partners and academia. The challenge will also feature a group of advisors who represent the end users of protective packaging from key sectors, including Amazon Packaging Lab, West Elm, Lowe’s, Wayfair and RILA.

Submissions are now being accepted through Jan. 17. Participation is open to any innovators with pilot-ready solutions. Finalists will be invited to present on the main stage at SPC Impact in Austin, Tex., on April 2, and three final winners will receive one year of SPC membership, a value of $2,750, as well as a promotional campaign by SPC, Ubuntoo and other challenge partners.