Winners

The winners of the ‘Meriroskahaaste’ challenge prize address different stages of marine littering

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Winners of the ‘Meriroskahaaste’ marine litter challenge prize (from left to right) Jutta Vuolamo and Anna Zweygbergk from Pidä Saaristo Siistinä association, Esa Torniainen from Paptic Ltd, and PlastBug team members Kari Koivuranta and Kirsi Immonen from VTT, all in festive spirits. © Photographer: Annamari Tolonen / Kaskas Media

The goal of the ‘Meriroskahaaste’ marine litter challenge prize was to find solutions to decrease the amount of litter ending up in the Baltic Sea. The winning trio – Paptic Ltd, VTT’s PlastBug team, and the ’Pidä Saaristo Siistinä’ environmental association – received a total of 32,000 euros of prize money for adding momentum to the saving of the Baltic Sea.

The ‘Meriroskahaaste’ challenge prize climaxed on Finland’s Nature Day on 25 August when the ten competition finalists presented their solution proposals at the Allas Sea Pool in Helsinki. The ideas touched on decreasing the plastic emissions of the cosmetic industry, developing new environmentally-friendly materials, and on environmental education.

Kimmo Tiilikainen, the patron of the challenge and Finland’s Minister of the Environment, Energy and Housing, was present at the finale and was very impressed with the ideas which addressed the various stages of the ocean littering problem in a multitude of ways.

“Each team had their own unique approach on how to decrease marine littering. I find it excellent that Finland is participating in developing practical solutions to one of the globe’s major environmental issues,” Tiilikainen says.

The main prize went to the developers of packaging material

The largest prize sum, 15,000 euros, was awarded to Paptic Ltd. The wood-based packaging material developed by the company can be used for replacing plastic in, for example, plastic bags, shipment packages of online stores, and other flexible product packages.

“Now we need to focus on locations where a lot of products are being packaged. We will use the prize money to make preparations for expanding our operations outside Europe,” says Esa Torniainen, the company’s co-founder and Chief Business Development Officer.

The jury awarded 10,000 euros to VTT’s PlastBug team which is developing microbes that degrade plastic waste into new raw materials. The ‘Pysäytä jätemeri!’ campaign of the Pidä Saaristo Siistinä association was awarded 7,000 euros for the visualisation of messages on rainwater run-off wells and waste bins to inform people of the routes that litter takes before ending in the seas. The prizes were awarded by The Nessling Foundation and the S Group.

Crowdfunding campaign for three finalists

“The decision was not easy, as the finalists all addressed the problem in very different ways. Some offered materials to replace plastics. Others had developed new techniques to prevent plastics from entering the environment. And some had sought solutions to transform the behaviour and consumption patterns of people,” says Lea Kauppi, Director General of the Finnish Environment Institute, who was one of the jury members for the challenge.

Three finalist teams were set up with a crowdfunding campaign for accumulating funding for their projects. The campaign was awarded to the CosmEthics application, the ‘Pysäytä jätemeri!’ campaign of the Pidä Saaristo Siistinä ry association, and the environmental education campaign of the The Finnish Nature League’s Baltic Sea division. The crowdfunding campaigns were donated by Joukon Voima.

The ‘Meriroskahaaste’ challenge prize is a challenge competition organized by the Finnish Environment Institute for finding solutions that would cut down the amount of litter ending up in the Baltic Sea.

Published 2018-09-14 at 12:42, updated 2018-09-14 at 12:52