The Center for the Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners announces the nine winners of the Beyond the Bag Challenge: included is “Sway,” the MFA Design Venture by Julia Marsh (MFAD ’19). The announcement states “winning solutions fall into three categories: Reuse and Refill; Enabling Technology; and Innovative Materials. Their work ranges from reusable packaging systems, to technology that incentivizes consumers to make the sustainable choice, to bags derived from seaweed or agricultural waste. The winners now enter the next phase of the initiative: working closely with the Consortium to prototype, refine and test the viability of their designs to scale as long-term solutions.”
“Unveiled in July 2020, the Consortium’s Beyond the Bag Initiative is an ambitious three-year undertaking that aims to identify and scale innovative alternatives to the single-use plastic retail bag. Consortium Founding Partners CVS Health, Target and Walmart committed $15 million collectively to the bold collaboration, with the goal of driving transformational change. The Consortium has welcomed additional partners DICK’S Sporting Goods, Dollar General, The Kroger Co., The TJX Companies, Inc., Ahold Delhaize USA Brands, Albertsons Companies, Hy-Vee, Meijer, Wakefern Food Corp., and Walgreens, who have joined in its mission.”
Sway’s seaweed-based, compostable bag design was selected from 450+ global submissions, alongside eight other innovators. “Now, we’ll move into the next phase of the project: testing the viability of our design,” says Marsh. “This is a big step for our small, young company, and we couldn’t be more grateful.”
Sway will also be raising its first round of captial in March, with the intermediate goal of reaching $2M. This funding will go directly toward retaining and expanding talent, building up its production capacity, and finalizing IP.