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Dec 5, 2022
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Earthshot prizewinner creates alternative plastic solutions for fashion and beauty

Published
Dec 5, 2022

The Earthshot Prize named five winners at an event in Boston late on Friday and one of them is hugely relevant to the fashion and beauty sectors.


Notpla's seaweed greenhouse


One of the winners was Notpla UK, a London-based business that has developed an alternative to plastic made from seaweed and plants. It can be used to create a range of packaging products, such as a bubble to hold liquids, and a paper for the cosmetic and fashion industry.

The prize is a valuable one with each of five winners receiving £1 million. Earthshot spent two years as part of The Royal Foundation of the former Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (now Prince and Princess of Wales), but become an independent charity earlier this year, although Prince William continues as President of what the charity describes as “the world’s most ambitious and prestigious environmental prize”.

Meanwhile Notpla, the winner most directly relevant to fashion and beauty was founded as a reaction to the fact that, as co-founder and CEO Pierre Paslier said: “Fourteen million tonnes of plastic enter our oceans each year. We founded Notpla when we discovered the solution lies in our oceans too. We are already replacing plastic that plagues our seas, and working with seaweed farms that give back to the environment and the local economy.”

Their win comes as global awareness of the plastic packaging problem has reached record levels in recent years and the search for a true sustainable alternative is one that businesses in fashion and beauty are watching keenly and actively participating in. 

So far, only 9% of all the plastic ever produced has been recycled and 12% has been incinerated. The rest lies in landfills or has been dumped into the oceans. 

Notpla’s solution is “totally natural and entirely biodegradable”.

Importantly too, the seaweed farmed for the material’s production captures carbon 20 times faster than trees can, “addressing one of the key causes of the climate crisis”.

And the farms are also claimed to boost fish population while creating  new opportunities for fishing communities.

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