Climate Action

Designers respond to urgency of waste problem and climate crisis

No Waste Challenge

Our partner What Design Can Do has announced a shortlist of 85 nominees for the “No Waste Challenge”.

From an impressive 1,409 entries worldwide, 85 projects from six global cities have been chosen to move on to the final round of competition. These projects show the power of design-led solutions to address both waste and the climate crisis.

“I have been a bad designer”
The No Waste Challenge is based on the assumption that designers have been taught to design trash —but this can change. The competition called on innovators and designers to come up with ideas to tackle waste caused by mass consumption and production, and the related impacts on our climate.

The entries have been meticulously reviewed by 105 experts, who took part in online and off-line selection committees. All 85 nominees have exceeded expectations across the competition’s criteria: impact, creativity and design, feasibility, and scalability. All nominees share a sense of urgency to confront the climate crisis.

“Creatives are no longer willing to wait for the change they want to see,” says Richard van der Laken, co-founder and creative director of What Design Can Do. “They’re determined to be part of building a better future; one which redefines not only our relationship with waste, but our relationship with nature.”

From grassroots to big picture
While some projects are taking on big-picture systems of production, others are inspiring consumer habits and empowering grassroots action. For example:

  • Vegeme (Tokyo) is a full-circle initiative. This project collects food waste, converts it to fertiliser, then uses it to grow vegetables and provide consumers with ecological food in return.
  • ReUptt (Amsterdam) is an app that empowers people to make more sustainable choices. Instead of replacing broken products, the app enables people to repair them with the convenience of door-to-door delivery.
  • Bare Necessities (Delhi) connects people with zero-waste ways of living, including products and resources. In the end, their goal is to inspire a wave of more socially conscious behaviour.
  • SOLO Packaging (Brazil) melds old and new in its eco food packaging made from dry palm leaf.

You can find out more about the nominees on the No Waste Challenge platform.

Selecting the winners
Over the next month and a half, the 85 nominees will refine their entries and an international jury will review their projects. On 15 July, the jury will announce 16 winning projects. Winners will receive €10,000 in funding and launch into a full-steam-ahead development programme. What Design Can Do and the IKEA Foundation launched the No Waste Challenge in January 2021. It is the third competition to tackle global issues that impact on climate change, following the Climate Action Challenge and the Clean Energy Challenge.

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