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Why an innovation prize?

Innovation prizes have incentivized large-scale problem-solving for over 300 years. In fact, the story of plastic starts with an innovation prize. And elephants. In 1869, John Wesley Hyatt won the Phelan & Collender prize for inventing the world’s first plastic—celluloid—to replace ivory in billiard balls. Ivory was becoming scarce. And so were elephants. Hyatt’s innovation, inspired by the prize, marked the birth of the plastic world as we know it today.  The TOM FORD Plastic Innovation Prize was established with the spirit of Hyatt’s work in mind. One hundred and fifty-two years later, the solution to the world’s plastic crisis can be found in the tale of its creation.

Questions? Email us at info@plasticprize.org