AFRICA – Afri-Plastics Challenge has announced strand 2 finalists comprising 10 teams of innovators from across Sub-Saharan Africa with solutions for reducing plastic usage.

The Afri-Plastics Challenge, from innovation experts Challenge Works and funded by the Government of Canada, is rewarding the most promising Sub-Saharan African innovators working in the circular economy.

The finalists will receive US$ 91245.75 to invest in and develop their ideas. Next year, a winner will take home the first prize of US$ 912,457.50, with the runner-up receiving US$304,152.50 and the third-placed winning US$121,661.

Across the continent lies a pool of innovative talent as exemplified by the regional distribution of the finalists, who were drawn from Rwanda, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.

They included a Rwandan organization Toto Safi, whose solution also named Toto Safi, is an app-based service that facilitates the reduction of single-use disposable diapers, a major source of land and marine pollution.

Through this app, parents will be able to receive a fresh bundle of clean and sterilized cloth diapers at an affordable cost.

Also catching the judges’ eye and attention was ShoppersBag, a solution developed by a Nigerian organization known as Well of Science.

Shoppersbags are re-usable, recyclable and biodegradable bags that allow people to get paid or earn rewards on every usage. 

Other contenders in the race include South Africa’s Regenize. Regenize’s Zero-Waste Spaza can plug into any existing spaza shop and enables it to become a zero-waste shop where its customers can shop without creating plastic waste.

The customers will need to bring their containers to purchase goods supplied by Regenize and stored in secured food-safe containers. Besides reducing plastic waste, it will also enable customers to live a healthier lifestyle.

On its part, the Uganda Industrial Research Institute manufactures biodegradable and bio compostable paper packaging bags from the long wasted agricultural fibers.

The institute utilizes waste from banana pseudo-stem, sugarcane bagasse, all cereal crop straw (rice, maize and wheat), cotton waste/rags, and pineapple crowns, among others, as an alternative product to reduce the usage of the polythene bag.

Others making the finalists position include Naza Agape Foundation (Nigeria), Chemolex (Kenya), SHE ECO RESPONSE (South Africa), Lwanda Biotech (Kenya), EcoCoCo Homecare (Kenya) and Derocolbags Packaging Limited Company (Ghana).

The Afri-Plastics Challenge’s goal is that the development of the innovators’ solutions will encourage the creation of new, sustainable local enterprises, bringing economic opportunity to communities, while creating solutions with application across Sub-Saharan Africa and around the world.

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