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Social innovation to battle plastic waste

29/10/2019

Meet the winners of the European Social Innovation Competition 2019, run by the European Commission

A Spanish start-up that is transforming organic waste into biodegradable bioplastic (VEnvirotech); a Czech company that is applying the principles of circular economy to daily use packaged products (MIWA); and a spraying solution based on natural, sustainable and edible ingredients that can be applied on numerous foodstuffs for better conservation developed in Portugal (SpraySafe).

The three projects mentioned above have, at least, three things in common: 

1- They are fighting single-use plastic with an innovative solution;

2- They believe in social entrepreneurship as a technique for business while helping to improve the world and solve social problems;

3- They have been awarded with a €50,000 prize by the European Commission for winning the Social Innovation Competition.

The European Social Innovation Competition was launched in memory of social innovation pioneer Diogo Vasconcelos and is run by the European Commission across all EU Member States and H2020 Associate Countries.

Last Thursday, October 24, the 10 finalists presented their projects at an awards ceremony held in Brussels.

"We want to make Europe the first climate neutral continent, whilst protecting industries. That's why you social innovators are so important - you show us that growth and job creation go hand in hand with sustainability," said Timo Pesonen, Director of the General Directorate for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW).

Each year the Competition focuses on a different issue facing Europe; like job creation (2012, 2014), reception and integration of refugees (2016) or empowering young people in a changing economy (2018). This year, its seventh edition, the focus was on one of the environmental problems that is affecting the world: challenging plastic waste.

In addition to the three winners, among the finalists we saw several other interesting projects like the Italian ReciclaGaMe, which aims to eco-sustainably degrade polyethylene through Galleria Mellonella, a larva that eats plastic and produces silk! See the 30 projects selected for support.

A big congratulation and thanks to all the participants for fighting #plasticwaste. This battle requires a joint effort!