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Tanki, the start-up company behind a novel environmentally safe sanitary paper designed to prevent blockages in sewage treatment plants and toilets, has won the prestigious Maritime UK 2020 Innovation Award.

The award, sponsored by the UK Ship Register, was presented by Dee Caffari MBE in a well-executed virtual event broadcast last week, following live streams from Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, the Member of Parliament for Plymouth, and Shadow Environment Secretary Luke Perry MP, and UK Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps MP.

A panel of judges, chosen to reflect the ‘breadth and expertise’ across all sectors of the UK’s maritime industry, selected Tanki as it “demonstrated exceptional true commitment to innovation in solving a particular challenge or the development of a new product or service”.

The challenge Tanki looked to address was to supply a sustainably sourced and produced paper that does not congeal to clog up a vessel’s sewage treatment system or pollute the environment.

Every roll of conventional toilet paper usually contains about 2.7g of lamination adhesive and softening agents that bond the sheets together.

In a live stream following the announcement, a surprised Matt O’Crowley, Director, Tanki, said: “This is incredible. Thank you, Maritime UK, and everybody else that has supported us. I would also like to congratulate the other nominees in the category, which included a nuclear power station. It’s amazing.”

Caffari, the first woman to have sailed single-handedly and non-stop around the world in both directions and the only woman to have sailed non-stop around the world a total of three times, said: “For myself, coming from a campaign backed by the UN Clean Seas initiative, this is close to my heart, so I am absolutely delighted with what you have produced. Next time I’m going anywhere, it is your toilet paper, I’m taking with me!”

Following the event, Simon Haydon, Operations Director, Tanki, said: “We are delighted to have won this award, which I think is reflective of the maritime industry’s commitment to solving environmental problems. We were looking to solve an engineering problem and we found the solution: to rip out all the nasty, environmentally damaging components of the seemingly innocuous and ubiquitous toilet roll.”

Tanki Commercial Director Mark Collins added: “The pause in some vessel operations due to the Covid-19 pandemic does provide ship operators with an opportunity to look at new ways of improving their environmental footprints and supply chains.”

Referring to the passenger ship sector in particular, Collins said: “A typical 4000-passenger capacity cruise ship tends to go through about 8000 rolls a week, discharging 1.5t of adhesives into the ocean environment every year. With the growth in expedition cruising, cruise vessels and yachts could inadvertently pollute MARPOL special areas with nano-plastics and lamination glue. Tanki prevents this.”

Tanki 2-Ply uses virgin pulp from verified sustainable and actively managed sources and is compliant with MARPOL Annex IV and V. It completely disintegrates when submerged in water. The paper is indistinguishable from luxury high street brands but costs about 50% less per roll.

The awards event can be watched in full at