Innovation Champions: Global Alliance Africa announces Triple Shine Winners of Unilever's Plastic Waste Open Innovation Challenge!
Global Alliance Africa’s Open Innovation Challenge in partnership with Unilever identifies solution aimed at reducing plastic usage in consumer goods in South Africa.
Despite growing calls for sustainable consumption, only 3% of rural households in South Africa actively recycle their waste, with many instead resorting to the practice of refuse burning. Yet, this comes as South Africa also has a weak and strained waste management system, with 35% of households not receiving weekly waste collection and a further 29% of households not having any waste collected at all.
To address this issue and help the world-leading manufacturer of household goods reduce its plastic usage by 100,000 tonnes, Unilever partnered with Global Alliance Africa to host an Innovation Exchange Challenge, which sought to explore how re-use and re-fill packaging could be adopted to reduce the amount of waste produced by households in rural communities. The Open Innovation Challenge aims to develop and maintain a collaborative culture between industry players and their associated supply chains or government agencies.
Businesses, organisations, and individuals from across South Africa were invited to submit proposals, with the challenge generating a number of responses. After much deliberation by a team of industry and environmental experts, Sharon Rapetswa, the founder of Triple Shine Detergent Solutions, was selected as the winner. Founded in 2016, the company has developed a new line of refillable plastic packaging for Unilever’s bleach, detergent, and fabric softener products.
Across the country, the same line of plastic products was being disposed of by rural households on a monthly basis. But due to the lack of proper waste management services, recycling was an unavailable option. I realised that, to help these communities consume more sustainably, we needed to tap into the existing re-use and re-fill culture that has been practised for years.
With her idea for refillable detergent packaging set to revolutionise plastic waste management in rural communities, Rapetswa will now receive £25,000 in milestone-based seed funding, along with training and mentorship, to help develop her solution.
Commenting on the significance of this Innovation Exchange Challenge, Marisa Naidoo, Knowledge Transfer Manager South Africa at Global Alliance Africa, concludes:
A large part of our mission is to connect change-makers at all levels of industry and society, so that we can co-create inclusive solutions to a sustainable future. To that end, we’re incredibly grateful for the opportunity to partner with Unilever, to help them take an active role in transforming the future of the consumer goods industry.
To learn more about Global Alliance Africa’s Innovation Exchange Challenges, visit: https://innovationexchange.ktn-global.org/challenges
Follow us at @KTN_Global for more project updates.
About Global Alliance Africa
The Global Alliance Africa project is a six-year project funded by UK Aid through Innovate UK (GCRF) and the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
For more information about the project, please visit https://ktn-uk.org/programme/africa.
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