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The Circular Economy Track of the Ocean Plastic Innovation Challenge is a key component of National Geographic and Sky Ocean Ventures’ partnership to reduce plastic waste. This track will focus on solutions that move businesses and consumers toward a circular economy that values reuse and repurposing of materials that would otherwise be wasted after a single use.

Circular Economy Track Categories

The Circular Economy Track challenges teams to develop business models and technology solutions to reduce plastic product packaging waste. This track aims to incentivize businesses and consumers to move away from a single-use plastics economy and encourage the reuse and repurposing of plastic alternatives. Solutions should focus on models and innovations that are scalable and applicable across industries. The Circular Economy Track will identify solutions in the following two categories: Business Models and Technology Solutions. 


  A panel of expert judges will identify up to 10 finalists in the Circular Economy Track, who will each win $5,000. Finalists will then compete for the grand prize of $100,000 and up to two second-place prizes of $45,000 each.

Business Model

The Business Model category challenges teams to develop new business models that deliver food or beverage products to consumers without single-use plastic food and beverage containers and without increasing food spoilage or waste. Teams must include: a valid value proposition for end users; key resources required to develop and distribute the solution; revenue and expense models; and key roles and stakeholders needed to make the business model successful.

Technology Solutions

The Technology Solutions category challenges teams to develop technology solutions for businesses or consumers that simplify reverse logistics—the process by which goods are moved from their end-user or typical final destination back to the distributor, manufacturer, or other stakeholder for the purpose of capturing value or proper disposal—to enable the reuse or recycling of product packaging. The solutions must address convenience and ease-of-use for end users, as well as other barriers that may hinder the recapture of product packaging. Teams must include: a valid value proposition for end users; key resources required to develop and distribute the solution; revenue and expense models; and key roles and stakeholders needed to make the solution successful.


Key Dates

 February 11, 2019

Registration opens

June 11, 2019

Initial Submission Deadline 
by June 11, 2019 11:59 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time

Week of July 8, 2019

Finalists Selected

Week of November 11, 2019

Finalists’ Submissions Due

Week of December 9, 2019

Finalists Pitch Their Solutions to a Panel of Expert Judges

Week of December 9, 2019

Winners Announced

Selecting the Finalists

Submissions closed at 11:59 p.m. U.S. Eastern Time on June 11, 2019.
Meet the Judges who will review the submissions.

Meet the Judges

PHOTOGRAPH BY GCSHUTTER, GETTY IMAGES (Top Image) ; Sierra Clark (Business Model) ; Mark Thiessen (Technology Solutions)