How can we effectively recover and reuse organic waste in the city?

Read the brief


Challenge Update: 5/03/2019

We identified and clustered all submissions into key areas of opportunity that served to inspire and support the development of new solutions at the Beyond Next circularity festival. 

Read up on the first phase's results here, and check out the solutions under the "Refinement" tab.

Are you working or keen to work on similar solutions in your own city?  Get in touch with us!

The Brief

Opportunities to turn organic waste into value abound: from the production of high-quality protein and biomass to nutrient recovery, innovations to close the loop are on the increase. 

Without greater collaboration throughout the value chain, however, scaling these stand-alone initiatives (see Waste to
Aromatics, for example) while ensuring the high-value reuse of these organic streams remains difficult. 

Additionally, without the proper systems in place for waste separation and return logistics, tapping into these opportunities also remains a challenge. Waste separation rates in Amsterdam are currently far below the Dutch average, for example, and organic waste in particular is rarely separated at the source. 

We need new solutions to empower all citizens – retailers, consumers, restaurant owners, innovators, researchers, industry leaders – to actively participate in bringing the circular economy to life and to effectively recover and use their organic waste.

How can we effectively recover and reuse organic waste in the city?


What will happen during the challenge?

Phase 1: Mapping out the problem and solution space online, on Circle Lab (December 19 - January 17)

Key opportunity areas, barriers to overcome, inspirational case studies, existing research, facts and figures, and other insights are crowdsourced from a global community of students and citizens and synthesised by the Circle Lab team for all to learn from and use in developing new ideas. Two winners per challenge will get a free ticket (worth €250) to attend Beyond Next, the circularity festival, and up to €1,000 in accommodation and travel expenses.

Phase 2: Developing new solutions at Beyond Next, the Circularity Festival (February 7, 8)

A curated workshop table of students and industry professionals will use key insights from the previous phase and collaboratively develop and prototype solutions relevant to the challenge question.

Phase 3: Implementing the solutions, beyond... Beyond Next! (Ongoing)

Stakeholders from all phases are invited to work on bringing the most promising solutions to life and, with the support of Circle Economy, together set a roadmap for and follow up on their implementation.

Why contribute?

By participating on Circle Lab, you are contributing to building an open-source community that supports new, innovative, and sustainable business models. Participating is also a great way to connect with other like-minded individuals that share your interest in how the circular economy applies to specific industries or fields.

For the Beyond Next Challenges in particular, up to 2 winners per challenge will get to win a ticket (worth €150) to Beyond Next, the circularity festival (Feb 7-8 in Amsterdam), as well as up to €1,000 in travel and accommodation costs.

How will winners be selected?

Each challenge comes with a contribution guide that details what kind of submissions we are looking for. We have established a point system to reflect the effort we believe each type of contributions involve, but we will also look at the quality and thought put into every single submission.

The more you participate, the more chances you have to win!

Want to contribute to this challenge? Start here:


1. Get the contribution guide >

2. (Optional) 

3. Subscribe to the newsletter to receive updates about the challenge >

Or get your Beyond Next ticket straight away >


Challenge Timeline


Ideation phase has ended

Please refer to the Contribution Guide in the challenge brief above for more information on why, what, and how to contribute to this challenge, including any point systems used.