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Three €50,000 prizes for the most innovative projects designed to reduce plastic waste

Launched by the European Commission in 2013 in memory of social innovation pioneer Diogo Vasconcelos; the European Social Innovation Competition is a beacon for social innovation in Europe; utilising a proven methodology for supporting early-stage ideas and facilitating a network of radical innovators shaping society for the better. We launched this year's competition today at Cankarjev Dom in Ljubljana, Slovenia. In 2019 we are looking for ideas that reduce plastic waste through improving existing processes or through introducing brand-new products and initiatives.

Why plastic waste?

Plastic waste has become ubiquitous. We need new solutions for the design, production and use of plastics, as well as for the collection, sorting and recycling of plastic waste and sustainable alternatives to fossil-based plastics. Millions of tonnes of plastic waste are generated each year, for example in the EU alone, 27.1 million tonnes of post-consumer plastic was collected in 2016. The European Strategy for Plastics aims at addressing the plastic waste challenge through measures such as ensuring that all plastic packaging is recyclable or reusable by 2030, but successfully tackling plastic waste requires a systemic approach, including a rethink of supply chains, re-design of materials and products, new uses for plastic waste and recycled plastics, or changing consumer and business habits. That is why in 2019 the European Social Innovation Competition is Challenging Plastic Waste.


What are we looking for?

This year the Competition will reward the most innovative approaches to reducing plastic waste and improving re-use and recycling of plastic at a systemic level. In particular we are interested in projects that contribute to the following areas:

  • Reducing the consumption of single use plastic products
  • Recycling, reusing, and upcycling existing plastic waste
  • Dealing with accumulated plastic waste in landfills and the environment
  • Changing consumer behaviours, retail and wider business practices to reduce levels of plastic waste or increase recycling and re-use
  • Implementing alternative business models and optimising supply chains to reduce plastic waste or increase recycling and re-use
  • Introducing new materials fit for a circular economy, that offer sustainable alternatives to fossil-based plastics

Why enter?

Anyone aged 18+ living in the E.U. or Horizon 2020 Associated Countries can enter. All you need is an idea!

30 Semi-Finalists from across Europe will be chosen to receive a package of support from experienced social innovators to further the development of their ideas. Each Semi-Finalist is paired up with a local coach for 1-to-1 mentoring, as well as granted access to an online Pool of Experts for tailored advice on specific aspects of launching a social venture and provided with a series of exclusive webinars on key topics. All Semi-Finalists are eligible to send 2 representatives to a 3-day residential training academy providing further expert support for the development of their ideas, as well as connecting them to a community of other European social innovators. After the submission of their Development Plans, 10 Finalists are then selected from the Semi-Finalists. The Finalists are given further support and an opportunity to promote their project by pitching it live on stage at our prestigious Awards Ceremony in Brussels.

Finally 3 Winners are chosen to each receive €50,000!

We are looking for ideas from social innovators, entrepreneurs, students, designers, businesses, and anyone else who wants to help challenge plastic waste. APPLY HERE

EUSIC 2019

The European Social Innovation Competition is a challenge prize funded by the European Commission.

It is delivered by Nesta, in partnership with Kennisland, Ashoka Spain, ENoLL and Scholz & Friends.

Keep up to date with the competition by subscribing to our newsletter or following us on Twitter.


Gary Fawdrey

Gary Fawdrey

Gary Fawdrey

Assistant Programme Manager - Sustainable Communities, Nesta Challenges

Gary worked on social innovation and tech for good prizes.

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