Ocean Wise is proud to support Conservation X Lab’s launch of a global innovation competition with $650,000 in prizes to prevent plastic microfiber pollution

Conservation X Labs, an innovation and technology company that spurs solutions to the extinction crisis, has teamed up with a global coalition of partners, including Ocean Wise, to launch an innovation competition with $650,000 in cash prizes dedicated to solving a problem of planetary proportions—plastic microfiber pollution.

Plastic microfiber pollution is in the water we drink, air we breathe, and food we eat. Studies have found that more than 83% of tap water worldwide is contaminated with microplastics, and humans could be ingesting a credit card’s worth of microplastics each week.

The health impacts are yet unknown, but what is known is that our clothes make a considerable contribution to the problem. Sixty percent of clothing is made from plastic-derived fibers, such as polyester, acrylic and nylon, and the clothes shed microplastic fibers into the environment with every wash.

To help halt the devastating impact of plastic microfiber pollution on our waters and our environment, Conservation X Labs is launching The Microfiber Innovation Challenge, an all-out recruitment effort to entice the brightest minds to tackle the microfiber pollution problem and come up with upstream innovative sustainable solutions in textile production and manufacturing.

“By harnessing planetary genius, we can allow conservation to operate at the pace and on the scale necessary to keep up with, and even get ahead of, the planet’s toughest environmental challenges,” says Alex Dehgan, Co-Founder of Conservation X Labs.

“To achieve the goal of ending the Sixth Mass Extinction, and really to protect biodiversity and nature writ large, we need all hands on deck,” adds Paul Bunje, Co-Founder of Conservation X Labs.

Entrants will have until June 25, 2021 to submit applications for innovations that replace plastic-derived textiles with non-toxic, biodegradable alternatives and/or develop improved textile manufacturing processes to decrease microfiber shedding. Finalists will receive the support of an industry advisory panel to guide the final presentations.

The challenge is powered by the Flotilla Foundation and The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations and supported by a global alliance of partners working on the frontlines of the problem including The Biomimicry Institute, Bolt Threads, Canopy, Fashion For Good, Finisterre, Greenport Harbor Brewing Company, Material Innovation Initiative, The Microfibre Consortium, The Ocean Foundation, Oceanic Global, Ocean Wise, Plastic Soup Foundation, Queen of Raw, Think Beyond Plastic Foundation, and Under Armour.

“We’re looking for the next idea to stop Microfiber pollution and make the world better,” says Lorin Harward, senior lead of open innovation at Under Armour.

In addition to cash prizes, winners will have access to Under Armour’s innovation team, which will help develop, test and refine the winning ideas, and will receive UA gear and their own custom-designed shoes. Greenport Harbor Brewing Company will also name a new beer after the winner.

“You’ll not only help save the planet, but you’ll get to celebrate it with your very own brew,” says company founder John Liegey.

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