Best Ideas 2022 features all the nominated entries submitted under ‘Submit your Idea’ category. All the entries consist of innovative solutions or propositions for an enterprise that champions the Sustainable Development Goals. They can be on the conceptual, planning, or start-up stage.

"ChitoWrapped"

Stage of Idea planning stage

Explain your idea in details:

ChitoWrapped is a social venture aimed to reduce the consumption of food grade waxed papers widely used in fast food industry by offering a 100% biodegradable food wrapper made of sugarcane paper and Chitosan fiber. Waxed paper is made from cellulose fibers prepared from fir trees. In order to use it as a food grade wrapper, waxed paper is treated with an acid during production to add high stability and heat resistance, which is then coated with a nonstick silicone material. It is not plastic-free and takes 100+ years to decompose. Sugarcane paper is an eco-friendly and pollution-free replacement to the wood-pulp paper. Sugarcanes grow fast, exceeding 3 meters in 14 months, unlike trees must take at least 10 years. Furthermore, sugarcane releases 21 million tons of carbon dioxide in the field, but the crop absorbs 230 million tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere during its life cycle. Bagasse, sugarcane waste, is usually burned after it is processed into cane sugar, which will cause pollution. However, sugarcane can be turned into paper without burning or extra processing. It can also biodegrade within 30 to 90 days and returns nutrients to the soil. The chitosan fiber has been widely researched for its potential application as a natural preservative given its superior antibacterial and antimicrobial property for food quality and safety as it naturally provides a longer-shelf life. Adding chitosan fiber is found to have a strong antibacterial activity. Chitosan is biodegradable and non-toxic which can be recycled. Chitosan helps retaining firmness and restricting weight loss due to dehydration. Composite biodegradable films containing chitosan and antimicrobial agents are in development as safe alternatives to preserve foods. Despite the low clinical importance, chitosan is also known as a fat binder with an effect of lowering LDL cholesterol in fast food.

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Expected impact of your idea on sustainable development

The California State passed the law to ban a single use plastic in July 2022 and asked to reduce 25%+ of all plastics by 2032. Also, by 2028, California should recycle at least 30% of plastics. Also, it will set up a government office to support US$500 million of budget a year going forward for the sustainability efforts. More importantly, the state asks to reduce 25% of polystyrene in food packaging by 2023. ChitoWrapped will target top 15 fast food restaurant chains in the United States which include total 97,309 locations with over US$164 billion in revenue in 2021. Given the magnitude of industry in terms of revenue and the consumption of waxed papers for hamburgers, fried chicken, and pizzas, ChitoWrapped will be appealing to promote the consumption of sugarcane paper for its powerful carbon dioxide absorption in the field and pollution-free paper manufacturing process in addition to the added health and hygiene benefits from Chitosan.

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Plans for implementation and sustainability

ChitoWrapped will start its B2B sales in California first, targeting top 15 fast food chains in the US, which include McDonald, Chick-Fil-A, Taco Bell, Wendys, Burger King, Subway, Dominos and Chipotle Mexican Grill. ChitoWrapped will consider partnering up with some industry innovators such as Sugarlab and its related factories in Seoul, Korea with an easy and cheaper access to sugarcane and chitosan as well as seeking advisory from Marine Innovation which leads the Chitosan coating skills to biodegradable packaging. ChitoWrapped will be priced at 15-20% premium to parchment paper as chitosan fiber is more expensive than the chemical waxing cost. We will reach out to government funds, Eco+ Start-up challenge, available for environmental, safety-related inventions. Also, we will try investing platforms such as SeedInvest and StartEngine for international investors as well as venture capitalists who recently invested in green packaging companies.

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Your profile

My name is Daniel H. Park from the United States. I am currently 16 years old and am passionate about social entrepreneurship and environmental sustainability. I am interested in entrepreneurship because I believe it is a way of how we understand the world and connect with other individuals. I earned the Genius Olympiad Award and Conrad Innovator and attended the Launch X Program with the Top Start-Up Pitch award. I also work as the Youth Goodwill Ambassador as well as the board member of the Environmental Action Committee at school.

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