A brand new strategic partnership goals to spice up the round economic system innovation on the island of Puerto Rico to transform unmanaged or landfilled gadgets, corresponding to sargassum seaweed, plastics and tires, into new merchandise.
The New York-based expertise middle, Newlab, and the island’s financial improvement group, Make investments Puerto Rico, are recruiting entrepreneurs and early-stage firms to pilot modern waste conversion options.
The intention is to cut back landfill waste, unlock the potential for renewable life cycles of supplies, corresponding to end-of-life tires, waste plastics, and sargassum seaweed, and switch these things into priceless assets.
Sargassum is a seaweed whose extra development lately is affecting the coastal ecosystems and communities of Puerto Rico and different close by Caribbean islands.
Tires are one other damaging waste stream in Puerto Rico, with virtually 18,000 tires being disposed day-after-day on the island.
And by harnessing developments in recycling applied sciences and round design rules, the companions search to make plastic recycling viable in Puerto Rico to alleviate the problems round plastic waste and cut back dependency on imports.
Newlab makes a speciality of turning transformative concepts and applied sciences into real-world options for essential sustainability challenges throughout supplies, vitality, and mobility.
Earlier Newlab collaborations embody working with Ford, Verizon, LG, Orsted, the New York Metropolis Financial Improvement Company, and Mercado Libre, amongst others, to develop breakthrough options for world challenges.
The initiative has to date included scoping and discovery analysis, convening stakeholders, pilot conceptualization and partnership improvement.
The hassle has laid the groundwork for the execution of pilot tasks, that are scheduled to be launched later this 12 months.
In an announcement, Make investments Puerto Rico’s director of technique and analysis, John Bozek, stated the partnership represents a “important step ahead in our efforts to advertise sustainable financial improvement and innovation” on the island.
“We imagine that this collaboration may help begin to alleviate the island’s downside with waste administration by means of modern options, create new financial alternatives for native companies, and function a mannequin for different communities going through related challenges,” he added.
The CEO of Make investments Puerto Rico, Ella Woger-Nieves, stated in an interview that though many may affiliate the island with tourism, Puerto Rico’s economic system is predicated totally on manufacturing and data companies.
The truth is, the island is the most important exporter of biopharmaceuticals in the USA.
“We even have a really strong innovation entrepreneurship ecosystem right here, which has been thriving over the previous 5 to 10 years,” she instructed me.
She added lots of the waste challenges being confronted on Puerto Rico aren’t distinctive to the island.
“What we’re attempting to do is create a blueprint for different islands and world communities to turn into extra sustainable and self-reliant,” she added.
Satish Rao, chief product officer at Newlab, stated there’s additionally “native momentum” on the island to handle points like waste and circularity.
“If we will create a price chain the place you go from waste assortment to the manufacturing of recent merchandise, we might create localised worth streams on the island, which could possibly be an unbelievable drive of financial improvement,” Rao instructed me.