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Julia Marsh, co-founder and CEO of Sway, shared insights into the company's seaweed-based thin-film packaging solutions following its win at the Tom Ford Plastic Innovation Prize event at the Explorers Club in New York City on 5 June 2024. 

Alongside fellow prize winners Zerocircle and Notpla, Sway presented innovations aimed at replacing thin-film plastic, a significant contributor to oceanic plastic waste.

When asked about the main challenges in developing seaweed-based packaging, Marsh responded, "Plastic production is a well-oiled machine, literally and figuratively. Approximately 160,000 plastic bags are produced every second. For a solution to disrupt this industry, it must match plastic in scale, cost, and performance."

Reflecting on the company's success, Marsh noted, "Winning first place validated Sway’s capacity to meet industry standards. We’ve built excitement among manufacturers and brands looking to adopt compostable, biobased packaging solutions due to evolving consumer trends and sustainability policies."

Marsh discussed Sway's advancements during the Prize Accelerator, saying, "We’ve developed TPSea resin and TPSea Flex film, materials that compete with plastic in scalability, cost-effectiveness, and performance. This progress enables us to commercialise and expand beyond initial trials."

Regarding feedback on consumer acceptance, Marsh observed, "Sway’s seaweed packaging has received overwhelmingly positive reactions. Consumers appreciate its aesthetic appeal and are often surprised to learn it’s made from seaweed."

Marsh also acknowledged collaborations with brands like Burton and J.Crew, facilitated through the TOM FORD Plastic Innovation Prize. "Their feedback has been invaluable in optimising our materials for commercial viability and diverse applications," she explained.

Looking ahead, Marsh emphasised Sway's commitment to educating consumers about compostable materials. "Awareness is key for widespread adoption and environmental impact," she affirmed.

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