We are proud to present this year's second finalist team – team ChiNet. In this blog post, you will get to know more about the team and, of course, hear about their solution.
We are Team ChiNet comprised of five members who have a strong passion for sustainability sciences to influence the business world to make better decisions for the environment as we are all studying for our Bachelor of Sciences at Bentley University. As part of our curriculum, we were encouraged to apply for the OCC by our professor, Dr. Elizabeth Stoner. She is a mentor for our team and was the reason that we have been able to hone our ideas and use our passions to create the ChiNet.
Our team is made up of (top right to left and bottom right to left) Makena Romagnano is a junior from Columbus Ohio who is a double major studying Marketing and Earth Environment and Global Sustainability and a minor in psychology. Alyssa Gaeta is a junior from Georgetown Massachusetts studying Management with a concentration in Leadership and a double minor in Law and Psychology; she is also pursuing her MBA. Macy Jones is a senior from Boylston Massachusetts majoring in Marketing. Julia Brockney, a junior at Bentley University who is a double major studying Marketing and Earth Environment and Global Sustainability from Londonderry New Hampshire. Jayne Conry is a junior from Bolton Massachusetts studying Finance and minoring in Human Resource Management.
Our solution, the ChiNet, was made to combat the overwhelming amount of marine litter with 27% of total marine litter consisting of fishing nets, making it the top pollutant behind single-use plastics. Our solution uses a naturally occurring, biodegradable, and heavily bioavailable source to create fishing nets so they will not contribute to pollution. Chitin is the solution that our ChiNets are built from, as chitin is a naturally occurring material from the invasive European Green Crab and exoskeletons from discarded crustaceans that we will use as it will otherwise be discarded. We plan to use chitin as the base of our nets by creating a bioplastic that will biodegrade if these nets happen to be lost in the ocean. Thus, eliminating the pollution from these ghost nets and contributing to a circular economy.