Marx Acosta-Rubio, Grant Christensen, and Hal Jones are undergraduate students at Brigham Young University (BYU) and co-founders of Neptune Plastics, Inc. The team experienced the unfortunate effects of plastic pollution while serving as missionaries for their church. For two years, they lived in areas of the world where plastic pollution is prevalent in communal spaces, and saw first-hand how trash negatively affected the quality of life for the people around them. It was then they realized that they wanted to remedy the plastic pollution problem.

Together they designed and constructed a single-use marine degradable, wildlife digestible, backyard compostable plastic that is made of completely food-grade material. The innovation serves as an alternative to single use-plastic that remains in the environment for up to one thousand years, since their product dissolves in water in just a few days. The Neptune team received the 2020 $10,000 “Use it!” Lemelson-MIT Student Prize for their uniquely designed biodegradable invention.

Marx Acosta-Rubio grew up in Southlake, Texas, and is a junior at BYU, majoring in economics and minoring in strategic management. He is the chief executive officer and co-founder of Neptune Plastics, Inc., leading the strategic management, market research, and the project’s supply chain. He is a former member of BYU’s Management Consulting Club and Business Strategy Club, and has gained leadership skills through volunteer experiences.

Grant Christensen is also from Southlake, Texas, and is a senior at BYU, majoring in finance at the BYU Marriott School of Business. He is the chief financial officer and second co-founder of Neptune Plastics, Inc., and maintains consistent bookkeeping, financial planning, and expense budgeting for the project. He is also head of the company’s cost analysis and social media groups. Grant participates in multiple business and finance clubs at BYU and his leadership experience includes training over 170 volunteers at a local church.

Hal Jones is from Chicago, Illinois, and is a senior at BYU, majoring in chemical engineering at the Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and minoring in molecular biology. He is the chief technology officer and third co-founder of Neptune Plastics, Inc. and serves as the chemical and manufacturing engineer for the team. He is passionate about volunteering and is a member of the Centro Hispano organization, helping elementary school students with reading and writing skills.

Each member of the team runs internship programs at Neptune with the express interest of helping students develop real-world startup experience.

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