Microbeads made from plants not plastic and clothes that stretch as a baby grows are some of the ideas to be awarded a slice of £6m to prevent further ocean pollution.
Ten companies have been picked to receive investment by the government and Sky Ocean Ventures, the campaign which backs the development of new ocean-saving technologies.
One of them is Petit Pli, which turns recycled plastic bottles into clothes that expand with the young child who wears them.
Ryan Mario Yasin, who founded the start-up, said: “We are using a patent-pending structure embedded within the garment which gives them mechanical properties.
“You can fit seven sizes within a single garment and what this allows you to do is reduce the waste within the fashion industry.
“It’s trying to make sustainability desirable through innovation.”
Another company, Naturbeads, has created cellulose microbeads as an alternative to the 30,000 tonnes of plastic ones washed into the sea each year… the equivalent of five billion plastic bottles.
A UK ban was brought in last year but only in rinse-off products like face scrub.
The miniscule bits of plastic, described as “tiny timebombs” by the creators of the plant-based alternative, are capable of absorbing chemicals from the environment before being washed into the sea, ingested by fish and then potentially eaten by us.
Another firm to receive funding is DAME, a subscription service providing women with organic cotton tampons and the first-ever reusable applicator.
Every year in the UK, 1.3 billion plastic applicators are thrown away.
Co-founder Alec Mills said: “For decades we have been consuming and throwing away and there is only one Earth and it’s not going to survive unless we take drastic changes to reverse climate change and that means consuming less… that means reusing products and ultimately thinking long-term, making better products that last.”
Sky Ocean Ventures has pledged a total of £25m to help young companies and entrepreneurs develop their ideas.
Jeremy Darroch, Sky’s Group Chief Executive, said: “At Sky we recognise that we have a responsibility beyond our business…
“By investing in innovative new products and materials, we will help turn off the plastics tap.”
The government money has been pledged by its agency Innovate UK.
Business minister Lord Duncan said: “We’ve seen the ocean is full of plastic so want we want to make sure is it’s bio-degradable… whatever we’re using is decaying gently into the soil and returning to nature.
“For so long we’ve been looking at a hydro-carbon world, now we’ve got to look at a much more carbon neutral world so it’s money put in to encourage thinking and new ideas. Once we’ve got those we start to scale it up and we start to get to net-zero by 2050.”
There will be further opportunities for other companies with bold ideas to receive some of the funding.
:: Sky’s Ocean Rescue campaign encourages people to reduce their single-use plastics. You can find out more about the campaign and how to get involved at www.skyoceanrescue.com