2018 North America Finalists

Miranda Wang

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Reduce the amount of plastics sent to oceans and landfills by deploying a novel chemical recycling technology to upcycle unrecyclable plastic waste

BioCellection is tackling the plastic crisis by developing an economical recycling solution for currently unrecyclable plastic waste. Our team has developed a chemical process that transforms plastics into renewable chemicals for sustainable virgin-quality materials. BioCellection is partnered with city governments, waste companies, corporates, and schools to circularize plastics. Our team aspires to process 17 metric tons of plastic waste in California during our 2018 pilot, and to divert more than 3,000 metric tons per year of plastic films in each major US metropolitan center at commercial scale. At commercial scale, our team plans to fabricate modular process skids to treat plastic waste on a regional level around the world. Products from these regions will be centralized and purified in chemical facilities. By connecting the waste and chemistry worlds, we’re enabling a circular plastic economy.

Alexandra Russo

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ChimpFace: Chimpanzee Facial Recognition Technology to Combat Wildlife Trafficking

ChimpFace uses chimpanzee facial recognition and mapping technologies to investigate when and where wildlife trafficking occurs. ChimpFace works with researchers, investigators, and citizen scientists through a free cell phone app to collect photos of chimps in the wild, for sale online, and in captivity. The app examines chimp photos for recognition and determines when and where we have seen an individual chimp before, alerting authorities of potential criminal movements. This tool will be especially useful in three primary situations: 1) surveying the internet for photographic evidence of live chimp trafficking; 2) monitoring the trade in live captive chimps; and 3) studying wild chimp populations. We’ve built a prototype, have seen preliminary success identifying two chimps seized in Nepal, and already have plans to expand this technology to include more animal species.

Anastasia Kaschenko

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Majik Water - Harvesting clean drinking water from air

Majik Water uses novel technology combined with locally-adapted design to harvest clean drinking water from the atmosphere and deliver it to people and communities in our world’s driest places, starting in Kenya. Our technology uses solar thermal energy and sponge-like desiccant materials making it possible to get water in a low cost, energy efficient way. Desiccants are materials that adsorb water from air, and release water when heated. The desiccant we use is a material which is safe, non-toxic and abundantly available. How it works: i) Air is pulled into the device using solar powered fan; ii) Desiccant material absorbs water droplets from air; iii) Desiccant is exposed to heat (generated by solar), releasing the moisture as water vapour; iv) This water vapour is condensed into water and filtered with activated carbon; v) The clean water is stored in a tank and accessed via a gravity fed tap system which does not require a motor.

Elizabeth Unger

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MADIDI: A Jaguar Trafficking Documentary and Impact Campaign

With wild tiger populations nearly wiped out, traffickers are now slaughtering jaguars to falsely sell their parts as tiger on the Asian market – and the world has no idea. My documentary, MADIDI, will follow three individuals who are investigating this new jaguar trade sweeping South America, uncovering the powerful forces responsible for it all. After MADIDI reveals this little-known issue to the public, the film’s impact campaign will bring NGOs, journalists, celebrities, and government officials together to fight against jaguar trafficking before this iconic animal is gone forever.

Celine Jennison

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ANATO: Regenerative body care for people wanting pure, socially responsible products whilst reducing their plastic footprint.

Atmospheric CO2 must decrease to 350ppm. Some Governments and Businesses are tackling climate change but not fast enough, leaving it to non-profits, often small underfunded groups fighting David vs. Goliath battles that I’ve experienced through Plastic Tides. Businesses drive our economy and society, and must work collaboratively doing ‘more good’, not just ‘less bad’. Regenerative perennial agriculture, Tropical forests, educating girls, plant rich diets and renewables are the best approaches to reversing climate change. We must integrate these into the food we eat, the materials we use, and the products we put on our bodies. The body care industry is 135-Billion-dollars. ANATO educates about regenerative agriculture and ocean conservation via consumer products that are healthy and affordable. Our body care’s ingredients— tree-crops— sequester carbon and provide ecosystem services. Rooted in multifunctionality and minimalism, we offer tools for the Zero Waste Voyage making sustainability, practical. Our enterprise is regenerative by design.