Issue #120

   COVID Feature
   Borchardt Group
   Latest from Supporters


"Plastic-Free July" is a global movement, challenging millions to reduce single-use plastic waste. The initiative directly tackles an urgent global problem.  Between 1950 and 2015, plastic production increased from 2.1 million tons to 406 million worldwide. Beyond plastics, agricultural, chemical,  industrial and other forms of waste are worsening the climate crisis and harming nature, wildlife and public health.

A new generation of thinkers is finding innovative solutions to the problem of waste. Our July newsletter looks at startups and research projects creating packaging from agro-waste, promoting sustainable products with a plastic-free seal and reducing waste in chemical reactions. In our COVID-19 feature, we highlight a new German-backed vaccine trial recruiting 30,000 participants worldwide.  

Up for the challenge? Check out the  Plastic-Free July website and explore how to reduce single-use plastics in your home, office and community. 

COVID-19 Feature


Pfizer and BioNTech Recruit for Large-Scale Vaccine Trial
Back in March we reported on COVID-19 vaccine developments by German biotech BioNTech. Four months later, Pfizer and BioNTech are recruiting 30,000 participants for their vaccine trial. Read our feature to find out if you may qualify. 

Rethinking Reduce and Re-use

The Arekapak Team

Packaging from Agro-Waste
Inspired by a semester in India, Alexandra Matthies and Nicole Plock developed sustainable packaging from the leaves of the areca palm plant, an agricultural byproduct typically trashed. Learn more. 
Research Objects
©Borchardt Group

Sustainable Chemistry

An MIT "Top European Talents Under 35," Lars Borchardt and his team at the Ruhr-Universität Bochum are conducting chemical reactions without solvent waste and are storing energy in waste material.  Find out how.
The Flustix Seal

The Plastic-Free Seal

Since the early 90s, Germany has prided itself on clear, environmental packaging through the "green dot."  But an up-and-coming company is spearheading the next revolution in environmentally-conscious labeling. Introducing Flustix.

The Latest from Our Supporters


Research News

  • A new sensor being developed at the TU Dortmund could conduct reliable and fast virus scans, and a study from the Universitaet Bielefeld examines what prevents companies from producing in eco-friendly ways. More news and a call for applications in The Latest from Our Supporters.
  • Postdocs and early-career researchers can present their research for a chance to win $3,000 at the GAIN20 Science Slam.
  • Researchers and entrepreneurs are invited to share their groundbreaking ideas in the virtual Falling Walls Lab Boston. Apply by August 16.