Loliware scores $15.4m to replace single-use plastics with seaweed-based materials

Read the full story from Ag Funder News.

US-based alternative materials startup Loliware has closed a $15.4 million pre-Series A round. The round included participation from L Catterton, Alumni Ventures Group, Blue Bottle Coffee founder Bryan Meehan, and many others. Longtime plastics manufacturer Sinclair and Rush, with whom Loliware has a manufacturing partnership, has also committed capital. Loliware will use the funding to launch single-use plastic alternatives made from its novel seaweed resins.

Innovation takes center stage at Sustainability in Packaging conference

Read the full story at Waste Dive.

Speakers came at sustainability from all angles, including equipment digitization and debating the nagging question of whether consumers will pay more for products containing PCR.

DOE launches Microbattery Design Prize

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently announced the launch of the Microbattery Design Prize. This two-stage competition will award up to $1.1 million in federal funding and performance and safety testing services with DOE national laboratories to innovative small-capacity battery design projects that will yield improved performance, safety, and recyclability.

The purpose of this design prize is to advance innovative new designs for microbatteries and accelerate their commercialization and integration into existing technologies needed for clean energy manufacturing, like sensor systems for improved smart manufacturing processes, and sensors for grid monitoring of renewable energy sources as the nation continues its transition to clean energy future.

Because of the requirements associated with their small size, the microbattery market is unable to leverage many of the existing manufacturing processes of the larger battery supply chain ecosystem. This presents a major barrier to the development and commercialization of new microbattery chemistries and designs, along with an opportunity to increase domestic production and secure supply chains. Not only are microbatteries crucial for clean energy manufacturing scale-up and smart technology innovation, but some manufacturing innovations resulting from this design prize could be applied to larger batteries as well. Microbatteries are also critical components of non-energy-related technologies that society relies on, such as wearable and implantable medical devices, meaning the resultant designs of this prize could affect innovation across multiple industries.

This announcement marks the opening of the first of two phases in the Microbattery Design Prize.

  • Phase 1: Idea
    The first phase will select the best ideas for a new microbattery design.  During Phase 1, competitors will develop and submit technical designs and schematics for microbatteries that serve a specific application (like a grid monitoring devices) and meet certain performance goals (like a specific storage capacity, cycle lifetime, safety, or recyclability) that go beyond what is commercially available today.
  • Phase 2: Test
    During this second phase, competitors will create prototypes they can submit to DOE national labs for performance and safety testing.  Competitors will also work to determine potential cost to manufacture their designs at scale. By the end of this contest, participants will develop a realistic plan to commercialize and manufacture their technology. Note: Only selectees from phase I will be eligible for participation in phase II.

Applications for Phase 1 are due on July 1, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. ET. DOE anticipates making up to six awards in Phase 1, each consisting of a $75,000 cash prize and performance and safety testing services with DOE National Laboratories. Learn more about the prize, including deadlines and how to apply. DOE will hold an informational webinar on April 12, 2023, at 12:00 p.m. ET.

The Microbattery Design Prize is led by DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Office (AMMTO) and managed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). Visit the Microbattery Design Prize page on the American-Made Challenges website for more information.

Why reuse programs shouldn’t wait for consumers

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

Recent surveys and pilots can help us better understand the consumer appetite for reusable packaging — and provide insights into how reuse should move forward.

Researchers develop coating that prevents synthetic fabrics from shedding harmful microplastics in the wash

Read the full story from the University of Toronto.

A team of researchers at the University of Toronto have designed a solution to reduce the amount of microplastic fibres shed when washing synthetic fabrics.

Packaging Special: How Tetra Pak, SIG and Amcor are pushing the frontiers of innovation

Read the full story at Dairy Reporter.

We speak to three of the biggest packaging manufacturers to find out what each is doing to improve recycling rates for mainstream packaging solutions like beverage cartons and plastic films. “As an industry, we have the ambition to achieve a 90% collection rate…”

Miss Universe is a sustainability queen

Read the full story at Treehugger.

When you think of Miss Universe or any other beauty pageant, sparkles, glitter, synthetic fabrics, and loads of single-use plastic might come to mind. That’s how it’s been for decades. But with younger generations now fully enmeshed in the workforce and international events, things are taking on a different kind of focus—oftentimes through a lens of sustainability.

Case in point: R’Bonney Gabriel from Houston, Texas. Crowned Miss Universe 2023 in New Orleans, Louisiana, Gabriel is making headlines for a variety of reasons: She’s the first American to win Miss Universe in 10 years, the first Filipino-American to ever win Miss Universe, and the first contestant to craft an upcycled swimsuit cape from scratch.

The swimsuit cape was no ordinary bikini cover-up. Gabriel shared the laborious process on her Instagram of how she dyed the fabric a brilliant orange with sustainable dyes and molded used plastic bottles with just a candle’s flame. The cape, deemed “Phoenix Rising,” has Gabriel’s motto emblazoned across the back: ‘”If Not Now, Then When?'”

Nestlé moves Nesquik into reusable steel packaging in Germany: ‘We want to use less virgin plastic; this is a concrete solution’

Read the full story at Beverage Daily.

In Germany, food major Nestlé is testing the use of reusable stainless-steel containers, rented from start-up Circolution, for its Nesquik cocoa brand.

A ‘game changer’ for clothing recycling?

Read the full story from the University of Michigan.

Less than 15% of the 92 million tons of clothing and other textiles discarded annually are recycled—in part because they are so difficult to sort. Woven-in labels made with inexpensive photonic fibers, developed by a University of Michigan-led team, could change that.

PFAS pet food packaging alternative is biodegradable

Read the full story at Petfood Industry.

Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) help pet food packaging resist oils, fats and moisture from the products they contain. However, pet owners and lawmakers have increased their attention to potential health problems caused by some PFAS. For the pet food industry, this raises problems, since few alternatives exist to PFAS. 

However, one pet food packaging producer does have an option. What’s more, after use, the paper-based packaging can also decompose under the right conditions. Ahlstrom’s FluoroFree paper meets the requirements of both European Union and U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations, Addie Teeters, head of marketing communications for Ahlstrom, told Petfood Industry.