Notpla wins £1m Earthshot Prize 2022

London-based start-up, Notpla has been named a winner of the 2022 Prince William’s Earthshot Prize in the Build a Waste-Free World category. The firm makes a range of packaging materials from seaweed – as  an alternative to plastic.

Founded by Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez and Pierre Paslier, while they were students at Imperial College London and the Royal College of Art, Notpla first developed an edible “bubble” called an “Ooho” that could hold water. Then they made a plastic alternative called “Notpla” made from seaweed. Other products include a coating for takeaway boxes, film, paper made from seaweed pulp, and a rigid plastic alternative, also made from seaweed. This year the firm has made more than a million takeaway food boxes for the takeaway delivery platform JustEat.

Co-Founder & CEO, Pierre Paslier, commented, “Fourteen million tonnes of plastic enter our oceans each year. We founded Notpla when we discovered the solution lies in our oceans too. We are already replacing plastic that plagues our seas, and working with seaweed farms that give back to the environment and the local economy. Thank you for recognising us as we take our next big step and eliminate single-use plastic for good!”

Plastic can damage habitats and be fatal for marine species such as whales. It can break into small pieces called microplastics and work its way up the food chain. Notpla is an alternative to plastic made from seaweed and plants. Seaweed farmed for its production captures carbon 20 times faster than trees, addressing one of the key causes of the climate crisis. This packaging itself means a reduction in ocean waste. Meanwhile, seaweed farming creates new opportunities for fishing communities.

The Earthshot Prize gives grants to firms that have innovative ideas for the environment that can be scaled up.

The Prince of Wales said the Earthshot winners “prove we can overcome our planet’s greatest challenges”. “Alongside tonight’s winners and finalists, and those to be discovered over the years to come, it’s my hope the Earthshot legacy will continue to grow, helping our communities and our planet to thrive.”