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Circular Plastics Challenge

Circular Plastics Challenge
Circular Plastics Challenge

Join to propose industry-shifting ideas to keep plastics in the economy and out of the environment.

Application Closed 

About the Circular Plastics Challenge

We need innovative leaders like you to imagine how we can craft a truly circular economy! Industry-leading companies are eager for fresh, out-of-the-box thinking to push the plastics industry to become more circular, at scale. In an effort towards making progress on the UN Sustainable Development Goal 12: Responsible Production and Consumption, Net Impact’s Circular Plastics Challenge calls upon innovators, systems-thinkers, and practitioners from all walks of life and levels of study to consider:

How might we keep plastics in the economy and out of the environment by using upstream innovation to reduce plastic leakage?

Up to five teams will be selected as finalists in the Circular Plastics Challenge. Finalist teams will gain exclusive access to a career-focused industry connections event where they will hear from and network with subject matter experts in the fields of material circulation and sustainability. Finalist teams will present their solution to a panel of expert judges at the final showcase event. 

The first place team will receive the $10,000 USD grand prize, with second and third place teams taking home $2,000 USD and $1,000 USD respectively. 

Download the Challenge Brief for all the information you need to get started

Finalist Benefits

Advance your Career

Gain exclusive access to an industry connections event where you will network with industry leaders working to improve the circular economy and learn how to grow your sustainability career.

Expand your Network

Present your innovative solution to senior-level executives from the Coca-Cola Company and Hillenbrand, Inc. who are working on designing a more circular economy.

Win Prizes

First Place: $10,000

Second Place: $2,000

Third Place: $1,000

How it Works

Step One: Get started

Download the Circular Plastics Challenge Brief, form your team, and start ideating your solution!

Step Two: Submit a solution

Submit a solution addressing the challenge statement. Submissions are due no later than February 13, 2023.

Step Three: Become a finalist, grow your career, and win!

Up to five finalist teams will be invited to network at an exclusive industry connections event and present their solutions at a final showcase to a panel of expert judges. The judging panel will determine which teams win the first place, second place, and third place prizes.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Undergraduate students, graduate students, and professionals from around the world are all welcome to apply.
  • Teams must have two to four members. Teams of one are not allowed.
  • Existing businesses are welcome to participate.


Phase 1 - All

  • September 19, 2022: Challenge opens
  • December 5, 2022: Early submission deadline (Those who submit a solution before this deadline will receive specialized feedback that they can incorporate into their next submission and increase their chances of winning the $10,000 grand prize.)
  • February 13, 2023: Final submission deadline

Phase 2 - Finalist Teams

  • March 10, 2023: Finalist teams are selected
  • March/April 2023: Industry connections event with material circulation subject matter experts 
  • April 2023: Final showcase with a panel of expert judges

Time Commitment

If selected, finalist teams will be expected to commit to participating in the virtual final showcase and industry connections event in March/April 2023. Each event will last approximately two hours and all team members are expected to attend both events. The final showcase will require approximately six to eight hours of preparation.


Supported by

The Coca-Cola Company