A Prize for Plastic?

A Prize for Plastic?

What would the world be like without the remnants of plastic? 

Granted, the innovation of plastic has certainly been a game changer for humanity in simple and cost effective ways. It keeps things clean and safe such as medical supplies, food. and well, t-shirts. For all its good, plastic also has one BIG problem, once it's used (which is usually done just once), it doesn’t go anywhere for a very, very long time. Those left over food wrappings and t-shirt bags often end up in our oceans and are devastatingly consumed as “food” by our lonely whale friends. One day, someone decided to stick up for those lonely whales and help solve these problems for everyone and everything affected along the way, present and future. That’s when Lonely Whale and Tom Ford partnered up to create the The Plastic Innovation Prize

The Plastic Prize is an innovation contest to both fund development and bring consumer awareness to solving the world's single-use plastic disaster. By bringing together partners from fashion, food, and science to fund 1.2 million dollars of prize funding and additional investment capital behind it, the lofty mission could just be realized sooner than we think, a world and an ocean – free from plastic remnants. That’s where you and ROQ come into the picture. 

Fashion is one of the biggest users of single-use plastics with an estimated 90% of garments getting wrapped or packaged in a single-use plastic solution at some point in its lifespan and for many of those garments’ multiple points. In fact, ROQ’s innovative packaging solution, the ROQ PACK, even makes it fast and affordable to package and ship a garment more efficiently than ever, great for garment decorators, bad for whales. It has never sat well with us creating a machine that eats plastic even if it does save labor and consumables by fitting each piece of clothing into a customizable bag, but no matter how hard we have searched, there hasn’t been a viable alternative solution for its industrial use. 

Thankfully, after a fateful plane ride and lively conversation about t-shirts and plastic with Dune Ives, the CEO of the Lonely Whale Foundation, we got the opportunity to help make the change we want to see in the world and officially became part of the collective early adopting coalition

As the industrial applications partner of the Plastic Innovation Prize project, ROQ.US is tasked with not simply helping to find the project that will invent a viable alternative to single-use plastics, but to ensure that it works and can scale with the fashion industry. Andy Johnson, ROQ.US Director of Purchasing sits on the advisory board for the project and reviews the candidates in depth to help find the best options that could be made and scaled. In honor and celebration of #EarthDay, we are excited to announce the finalists who will each compete over the next year to create the most viable and scalable option in order to solve this problem. 

Learn about the awesome and inspiring finalists here! 

The next phase is for us to continue to review and run tests through the ROQ packaging solution in order to provide feedback and refine the final winning product. Our intention is that this contest and consumer awareness will help continue to inspire and fund development to one day be able to realize the amazing benefits of a single-use plastic that naturally biodegrades back into the environment, ensuring not just us humans and our t-shirts  are clean and safe, but the oceans and our fiends, the Whales, and all other sea life, as well. 

For episode 4, season 3, of the #ROQShopTalk podcast, hosts, ROQ.US President Ross Hunter, Marketing Director Merrill Capps, & Purchasing Director Andy Johnson, are joined by Dune Ives of Lonely Whale to discuss Building Sustainable Business for a More Sustainable Planet. We invite you to watch/listen to the insightful episode below: