Climate Action

No Waste Challenge winners announced

Today, our partner What Design Can Do announced the 16 winners of their global No Waste Challenge.

The winning projects all have innovative strategies to reduce waste and its impact on climate change. Together, they suggest inventive ways for us to reconcile what we want with what the planet needs.

Production and consumption
Among the winners are solutions that focus on the production process. Sustrato (Mexico), for example, combines traditional craft, contemporary design and waste from the pineapple industry to develop sustainable bioplastics. Modern Synthesis (UK) makes use of a similar waste stream — this time from apple farms — to feed microbes that grow fully circular fibers for the fashion industry. Meanwhile, working to clean up the construction sector are Carbon Tile (India) and Packing Up PFAS (Netherlands). These projects offer innovative building materials that remove toxic pollutants and carbon dioxide from the environment.

Nyungu Afrika, winner of the No Waste Challenge

Disrupting throwaway culture
Moving away from the factory floor, other winners seek to uproot entire value systems. These projects are looking to prevent waste by addressing the underlying problem of consumerism. (Argentina) is a service which connects individuals to local cobblers and repair shops, working to promote a culture of care and the right-to-repair. Project R (Japan), is a community centre that empowers citizens to learn about circular techniques and lifestyles. Another disruption to throwaway culture is Nyungu Afrika (Kenya). This social enterprise hopes to make low-cost and biodegradable menstrual products the norm across Africa. 

Selecting the winners
An international jury of 12 leading experts in design, entrepreneurship and climate action selected the winners from 85 shortlisted entries.

Liz McKeon, Head of Climate Action portfolio at the IKEA Foundation, was on the jury. She says: “I was impressed by the many great young entrepreneurs and creatives from around the world who submitted designs to tackle the root causes responsible for waste, and their determination to find solutions. Even those who were not selected as winners will contribute just as much to creating a liveable planet for the many.”

Launching ideas into action
The No Waste Challenge is What Design Can Do’s third Climate Action Challenge in partnership with the IKEA Foundation. Open to creative entrepreneurs everywhere, it attracted 1,409 submissions from more than 100 countries.

The winning teams will receive €10,000 in funding, and access to a development programme co-created with Impact Hub Amsterdam. The programme begins with a week-long bootcamp. This is tailor-made for the special blend of change-makers present among participants.

You can view all projects on the Challenge platform: