Watsonville, Calif. – Fresh berry leader Driscoll’s and industry partners today announced winners of the Agricultural Plastics Innovation Challenge. Carbon Upcycling Technologies and Enerra Corporation were selected as this year’s winners for their innovation, business viability, focus on sustainability, scalability of their solution and the strength of their ecosystem. The selection process included more than 200 innovations from four continents with a wide range of solutions- new materials, design improvements and end-of-life innovations. Fourteen candidates were selected as finalists, and each was evaluated by a jury comprised of industry, scientists, innovators, and investors.
The use of plastic films in berry production has proven to have significant benefits including weed suppression, increased yield, and many others but they continue to be one of the most difficult materials to recycle which is why the development of alternative materials to plastic film is so important for the berry industry.
“We were really impressed with the sheer number of applicants- we’ve known that agricultural plastics pose challenges that we cannot solve alone so we’re inspired to not only see industry collaboration but to see people trying to tackle this challenge around the world.” -James duBois, Senior Environmental Manager, Driscoll’s.
Carbon Upcycling was recognized for its bio-compostable films and patented carbon capture and conversion technology. The technology allows for the efficient capture and conversion of CO2 into high-performance materials that can be used as alternatives to plastic films used in agricultural production.
“Our philosophy since day one was to return the CO2 back to nature and leaving the earth in a better place than we found it. We’re thrilled to be partnering with Driscoll’s to not only show a low carbon, bio-compostable solution, but one that enriches soil health and fuels plant growth at the end of life. We are eager to show that green can be better in the deployment at the research farm later this summer.” – Peter Zhou, Polymer Engineering Lead, Carbon Upcycling
Enerra Corporation was recognized for its technology that addresses the industry need for new recycling processes. Enerra Corporation operates a patented plastic reformation technology that converts difficult to recycle ag plastic into market-ready transportation fuels. This is accomplished without toxic catalysts or harmful emissions.
“We’re excited to work with Driscoll’s on this project and provide a solution that will eliminate the issue of agricultural waste plastic. This is one step towards achieving our vision of a cleaner, infinitely livable world.” -Sergio Perez, President, Enerra Corporation
“Enerra Corporation is tackling a current challenge by finding a creative outlet for the recycling of agricultural plastics that would otherwise be destined for landfills. They are providing an attractive alternative to costly fossil fuels.” – Thomas Taggart, Vice President of Operations, California Giant Berry Farms.
Carbon Upcycling and Enerra Corporation will attend Think Beyond annual investor forum, the catalyst program and have access to Think Beyond’s global ecosystem of investors and industry partners. Both Carbon Upcycling and Enerra Corporation will move into a field production pilot with Driscoll’s and will continue to explore pilot opportunities with other industry partners.
“We’re looking forward to working with Carbon Upcycling and Enerra Corporation, we have high hopes for their innovations in our enterprise and for the industry at large.”- James duBois, Senior Environmental Manager, Driscoll’s
Driscoll’s is the global market leader of fresh strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. With more than 100 years of farming heritage, Driscoll’s is a pioneer of berry flavor innovation and the trusted consumer brand of Only the Finest Berries. With more than 900 independent growers around the world, Driscoll’s develops exclusive patented berry varieties using only traditional breeding methods that focus on growing great tasting berries. A dedicated team of agronomists, breeders, sensory analysts, plant pathologists and entomologists help group baby seedlings that are then grown on local family farms. Driscoll’s now serves consumers year-round across North America, Australia, Europe and China in over twenty-two countries. As a fourth-generation grower and the son of one of Driscoll’s founders, J. Miles Reiter serves as chairman and CEO.
About Think Beyond Plastic
Founded in 2012, Think Beyond Plastic Foundation leads a global multidisciplinary effort to eliminate global plastic pollution by harnessing the forces of innovation. For more information, visit, http://www.thinkbeyondplastic.com The Think Beyond Innovation Center leads global action to raise a wave of innovation addressing the UN Sustainable Development Goals. To secure a rich pipeline of innovation, it is building an innovation eco-system connecting industry, investors and innovators. The Innovation Center has a network of Regional User facilities for design, testing, characterization and prototyping throughout the United States, as well as Europe – Germany and Bulgaria. For more information, visit http://www.tbpinnovate.com.