The challenge of innovation from plastics AG

Plastic has become ubiquitous and is deeply ingrained in agricultural food production. Field plastics increase productivity, extend the growing season, improve quality, and reduce crop loss. Producing high-yield, quality fruit requires a significant volume and variety of field plastics, but this increased use has a large environmental impact on waste streams: some types of field plastics are frequently recycled, while others , especially plastics in contact with the ground. They are less recyclable and end up in landfills.

Inspired by a passion for innovation and a commitment to minimize the impact of plastics in berry production, Driscoll's Berries and has partnered with Think Beyond's Innovation Center. and other industry partners to launch the Ag Plastics Innovation Challenge and redefine the future of agricultural plastics.

The Ag Plastics Innovation Challenge seeks to identify solutions that have the potential to scale commercially. Winners will receive access to the Think Beyond program at the Global Entrepreneurship Center to advance their innovations and demonstrate to Driscoll's and industry partners that their innovations have the potential to be a viable alternative to today's field plastics. The program will provide advice and support, and access to Driscoll's R&D, business and marketing teams and industry partners. Upon successful completion, the innovations will be tested at Driscoll's and industry partner farms and may be licensed for use in commercial activities of Driscoll's and industry partners.


The Ag Plastics Innovation Challenge seeks to address some of the top contributors to plastic pollution in agriculture: field plastics, specifically plastic wrap film. The challenge aims to catalyze innovation and promote the development of the next generation of field plastics as benign and recyclable alternatives to current conventional materials.

The Challenge aims to stimulate the development of alternatives to conventionally used field plastics with a preference for materials that can be collected, recycled or composted effectively, and ensure that none end up in the natural environment, while at the same time it has enough properties to be used. effectively in field operations. The goal of the challenge is to create an innovation model in line with Driscoll's commitment to sustainability and innovation.


Solutions that require landfill recovery or incineration
Materials that have known safety concerns or contain widely recognized substances of concern
Materials that claim to be biodegradable but can't prove it


The challenge has four themes

New Materials. a completely new material, a new formulation or variant of existing materials, or existing materials used in a new way;
New design. a modification of the design of the films that guarantees longevity or recyclability;
New or improved collection and / or recycling methodologies they must have documented environmental, economic and performance values ​​and benefits. Of special interest are innovations in the recycling of field plastics that are in contact with the soil (mulch, weed mat, and fumigation film) due to their tendency to retain soil and moisture after disposal;
Innovation in the conversion of waste into energy. Only innovations with proven environmental benefit;


Innovations will be evaluated based on three main criteria:

Innovation level. Is the innovation unique, different and truly original?
Business feasibility. What is the market potential of the innovation? Is the idea commercially viable? You can scale?
Sustainability What is the impact of innovation on sustainability? As measured? Can it be tested?


Advantages of the proposed material / approach / design
Ease of supply / access to material / raw material and material manufacture
Data or estimates of barrier properties and robustness in anticipated use scenarios
Ease of collection,sorting and recycling / composting
Strength of the associated ecosystem
Competitive differentiation
Proponent's experience and execution capacity


Submitted applications will be reviewed in two phases. The most promising innovations will be invited to provide more details in an expanded request form. The jury panel will review the expanded applications and select the top five finalists for the Innovation Challenge.
The finalists will receive:

Personalized support: access to Think Beyond expansion services in partnership with the Global Entrepreneurship Center;
Pilot support: access to Driscoll's and industry partner R&D teams for on-site pilots;
Visibility: Promotion through multiple global communication channels;
Networking: An invitation to the annual Think Beyond Investor Forum and Innovation showcase.


The Ag Plastics Innovation Challenge is open to innovators and entrepreneurs, as well as research institutes, startups, small and medium-sized businesses, or comparable institutions.
We accept only one application per team.


Personal information and data collected in the submitted application will be stored and processed by Think Beyond Innovation Center in association with the Global Entrepreneurship Forum. The information and corresponding data will only be used for the purposes of the Ag Plastics Innovation Challenge and will only be accessible to internal Think Beyond staff, partners and jurors involved in the processing and review of the application. The data will not be transferred to other third parties without your explicit prior consent. In accordance with articles 14-17 of the EU General Data Protection Regulation, you have the right to access, rectify, delete or restrict the processing of your data at any time. Think Beyond retains the information and data provided for as long as necessary for the purposes of the Innovation Challenge.


This is not an open innovation challenge. All applicants who submit proposals will retain their intellectual property rights. Winners will be invited to explore a relationship with Driscoll's and industry partners by completing the Think Beyond program at the Global Entrepreneurship Center.

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