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Upcoming Challenge: Circular Design Challenge

Love them or hate them, plastics are everywhere around us. In fact, demand for plastics is expected to double in the next 20 years. Yet our plastics system is broken. Most plastic items are used only once before being discarded. Only 14% is recycled, meaning a loss of USD 80-120 billion per year to the global economy. One third of all plastic packaging escapes collection systems and ends up – inadvertently or not – as litter in the environment.

If nothing changes, there will be more plastics than fish in the ocean by 2050.

So, how do we fix this? If we want to free our oceans from plastics, we have to fundamentally rethink the way we make and use plastic items so that they don’t become waste in the first place. That’s why we are calling for designers, scientists and entrepreneurs to find solutions that keep plastics in the economy and out of the ocean.

We invite participants in this Challenge to apply the principles of a circular economy to rethink the design of plastic packaging that currently ends up in landfills or in nature, and to explore new ways of getting products to people without creating plastic waste.

Get Involved – Host an Event:

To kick off the Challenge, people like you are organizing events around the world—in cities like Shanghai, Delhi, Boston, Nairobi and Detroit. Fill out this form and let us know if you're interested in hosting one too. We'll be in contact with everyone that's planning an event and send you a toolkit we've developed to support you.

Check out this practical resource on designing for the circular economy to help you get started!


Submit the form below to receive updates from the OpenIDEO team on the Circular Design Challenge.