The No Waste Challenge reveals the creative ideas that could solve society’s waste problem
What Design Can Do has announced 16 winners for its prize, each of which will receive €10,000 and development help to bring to life their innovative strategies to reduce waste’s impact on climate change.
- Lucy Bourton
- 15 July 2021
- Reading Time
- 4 minute read
The winners of the global No Waste Challenge have been announced, each representing innovative strategies for reducing waste and its impact on climate change. 16 winning projects have been announced, with all finalists gaining access to an award package which will aid the launch of their ideas into action.
The No Waste Challenge was posed in January 2021 by What Design Can Do, an international platform which uses design “as a tool for ecological and social change”. It is the third “Climate Action Challenge” created by the platform, in partnership with the Ikea Foundation. This year’s competition requested “bold solutions to reduce waste and rethink our entire production and consumption cycle,” and applications were open to creatives globally, with the platform receiving 1409 submissions from more than 100 countries.
The winners include projects with a focus on production processes, “aiming to revolutionise the taking and making of all the things we use and eat”. For example, Sustrato, from Mexico, presents a combination of traditional craft, contemporary design and waste from the pineapple industry in order to create sustainable bioplastics. While Modern Synthesis from the UK also looks to reinterpret a waste stream, this time from apple farms, helping to feed microbes that grow fully circular fibres for the fashion industry. Similarly looking at production processes, in this instance within construction, Carbon Tile from India and Netherlands-based Packing Up PFAs suggest the creation of innovative building materials to help remove toxic pollutants and carbon dioxide from the environment.
Away from production-focused initiatives, further winners look to “uproot entire value systems” says No Waste Challenge, and these particular projects look to “prevent waste by addressing the underlying problem of consumerism.” One example is Reparar.org, from Argentina, which is a service connecting individuals to local cobblers and repair shops, “working to promote a culture of care and right-to-repair.” Japan-based Project R has a similar motive as a community centre aiming to empower citizens to learn about circular techniques and lifestyles, while Nyungu Afrika, based in Kenya, is a social enterprise which hopes to create low-cost and biodegradable menstrual products the norm across Africa.
Across all the winning examples is a display of inventive ideas which utilise design “to reconcile what we want with what the planet needs,” says a statement from No Waste Challenge. Jury member Liz McKeon, head of climate action portfolio at the Ikea Foundation adds: “As part of the jury, I was thoroughly 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. I can assure you that even those not selected as winners will contribute just as much to creating a livable planet for the many.”
Each winner will now enter the next phase of realising their ideas, receiving €10,000 as well as access to a development programme co-created with Impact Hub Amsterdam. This includes a week-long bootcamp, “tailor-made for the special blend of change-makers present among participants,” describes the release. Winners will also gain mentorship one the skills they may need, whether it’s developing a business model or networking. “Combined with valuable exposure and publicity, the programme is set to provide unique support for the thinkers, doers and makers of the new economy.”
All projects submitted can be found here and be sure to keep an eye on the 16 selected winners from 2021 as they continue to develop their projects, culminating in a follow-up programme from April to September, 2022. The full list of winners are as follows: Carbon Tile, Clothing Loop, Dapoda: design living lab, Hagamos Composta, Living Coffin, Mapu, Modern Synthesis, LeafyLife, Nyungu Afrika, Packing Up PFAS, Project R, Radical, Raparar.org, Sustrato, UnPlastic, Wastewater to Green Parks.
No Waste Challenge: Club de Reparadores (Copyright © Club de Reparadores, 2021)
About the Author
Lucy joined It’s Nice That as an editorial assistant in July 2016 after graduating from Chelsea College of Art. In October 2016 she became a staff writer on the editorial team and in January 2019 was made It’s Nice That’s deputy editor. Feel free to get in contact with Lucy about new and upcoming creative projects or editorial ideas for the site.