The Circular Economy Challenge

We are looking for innovators developing recycling technology or circular products from engineering plastics.

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The Challenge is now closed. Read about the winners here.

Wevolver, in partnership with Growth Garage, the business accelerator from Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials, Mitsubishi Chemical Europe, and  Mitsubishi Chemical Methacrylates, invites engineers, designers, entrepreneurs, startups, companies, and students to submit their ideas, technologies, and products as part of the 2022 Circular Economy Challenge. 

The circular economy decouples economic activity from the consumption of finite resources. It is a resilient closed-loop system that leverages innovation to eliminate waste and circulate materials. It is a new way of doing business that proposes innovative thinking about economic activity. This has a positive impact on the well-being of people, society, and planet Earth by enabling sustainable growth and securing resources for the future.  

We are looking for innovators throughout the plastics circular economy who want to make use of advanced low carbon footprint engineering plastics or have developed innovative recycling technologies for advanced engineering plastics.

The winners of the challenge are invited to participate in a pilot program with Growth Garage, the business accelerator from Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials to take their idea to the next level. The total value of this program is $25,000. 

The challenge is looking for participants in two key areas: 

1. Recycling Technology

2. Products & Parts. 

Recycling Technology

Mechanical and/or chemical recycling is key to produce sustainable thermoplastic polymers, minimize landfill, close-the-loop, and facilitate the implementation of the Circular Economy.

Are you an innovator that has developed technology that enables the recycling of engineering plastics or improves their recycling process?  Does your technology improve the efficiency of mechanical recycling (collecting, identification, sorting, cleaning, grinding, regranulation, etc), or is a novel chemical or physical recycling technology?

Submission requirements:

  • Are you able to test materials provided by Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials?
  • Have you previously tested customer materials?

Recycling innovators can get access to materials to test their technology.  Image credit: POM

Parts or products

Are you a product designer that works within or wants to join the circular economy? Have you designed, developed, or manufactured products or parts with low carbon footprint engineering plastics for the circular economy?

Submission requirements:

  • Do you have parts or applications that are manufactured from thermoplastic polymers via CNC machining, injection molding, or 3D Printing (FFF) and have the intention to reduce the carbon footprint of the products/parts?
  • Secondly, you have (or intend to) implement a circular business model and are looking for a partner that supports the recycling of the thermoplastic polymer waste from production (cut-offs, swarfs, runners, etc.) or even after recollecting your products/parts end-of-life. 

Parts manufacturers can gain access to manufacturing and design support to produce a prototype. 

Submit to The Circular Economy Challenge

To enter the Challenge please complete the entry form before Wednesday 18 May. You are asked to provide personal details, a text description of your entry, and supporting images.


Early-Bird Submissions

Submit to the challenge before Monday 22nd April 2022, and Growth Garage engineers will review your entry for feedback and direction. You can then adjust your design and re-enter your submission.

Circular Economy Challenge Prizes

There will be an overall winner awarded in each category of the Circular Economy Challenge as well as a student prize and a Wevolver community vote winner.

As an overall category winner, you will enter the Growth Garage acceleration program and get access to the following support valued at $25,000. 

  • Joint test of your technology or service to assess the technical and commercial feasibility to create a proofpoint.
  • Access to sustainable advanced materials (low carbon footprint thermoplastic polymers).
  • Access to Industry experts and Circular Economy experts (regulatory, PCF, LCA,…)
  • Manufacturing and design support to produce a prototype.
  • Scale-up plan manufacturing and support.
  • Business Intelligence.
  • Reflection on your Value Proposition & Business Model.
  • Joint Marketing.

The student prize winner will receive $5,000 in support and the community vote winner will receive $10,000 in support. 

Key dates:

Challenge OpensTuesday 22 March 2022
CE Challenge Introduction WebinarThursday 31 March 2022
A Deeper Look at The Circular Economy WebinarTuesday 19 April 2022. Updated!
Early Bird Submissions CloseSunday 22 April 2022
Challenge ClosesSunday 22 May 2022. 12 Midnight CET
Finalists AnnouncedTuesday 31 May 2022
Winner Announcement EventTuesday 14 June 2022

More information


Wevolver and Chemical Advanced Materials are hosting two webinars prior to the Challenge deadline. 

Webinar 1: Introduction to the Circular Economy Challenge. 

Thursday 31 March | 16.30 CET

This webinar will provide a deeper overview of the challenge including details on the role of Growth Garage, Mitsubishi Chemical Europe, and Wevolver. It will also include an introduction to Circular Economy as well as hints and tips on putting together a strong submission.
Watch the first webinar here:

Webinar 2: A Deeper Look at The Circular Economy

Tuesday 19 April | 16.30 CET  NEW DATE!

In this webinar, Dr. Lisa Weigand from Mitsubishi Chemical Europe outlined what the circular economy is and how the company is working to accelerate its implementation. Register for the webinar here.

Submit to the Circular Economy Challenge now

The Circular Economy Challenge Entry Pack

The Entry Pack ensures that you have at your fingertips all the information you’ll need to submit a successful entry that grabs the judges’ attention and includes:

  • Comprehensive information about the challenge, which materials and technologies are in scope, and the two different categories you can enter.
  • A detailed checklist and guide to what needs to be included in your submission, and the benefits of being an early-bird entrant.
  • Plus, valuable context will help you develop your pitch, including tips from previous winners on how to produce a successful entry.

Download the Circular Economy Challenge Entry Pack here

The Judging Criteria

The  Growth Garage Circular Economy Challenge will reward projects that demonstrate an ability to accelerate the implementation of the circular economy. Successful designs will meet submission requirements based on the KAITEKI principles of Feasibility and Scalability, Sustainability, and Circularity. 

The jury will look at the feasibility of your idea from technical and commercial standpoints. We’ll then examine its scalability from the perspective of both your manufacturing methodology and the attributes of your team. And finally, we’ll consider its impact on the Circular Economy. The full judging criteria can be viewed here

Meet the Jury

The jury is made up of a team of engineers, materials experts, and business development leaders. Together they form several decades of experience. 

Dr. Lisa Weigand

Advisor Circular Economy at Mitsubishi Chemical Europe

Henning Bloech 

Global Director Sustainable SolutionsMitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials

Andy Rudd 

Global New Business Development ManagerMitsubishi Chemical Methacrylates

Dr. Peter Walde

Founder & CEO at MAPEGY.

Jules Harings

Associate Professor & Group leader Macromolecular Physics & Technology at AMIBM / Maastricht University.

Tim Vorage

Global Growth Manager at Growth Garage/Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials.

Patrick Suel

Funding President at Diamond Edge Ventures.  

Mark Geljon

Customer Experience leader, change-maker, and social entrepreneur.

Randy White

President -Engineered Solutions at Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials.

Simon McEvoy

UK Head of Strategy & UX at Omobono.

Bram Geenen

CEO and co-founder of Wevolver.

Submit to the circular economy challenge here

About the sponsors:

Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials & Growth Garage

Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials is a leading global manufacturer of high-performance materials in the form of semi-finished products and finished parts. The company has locations in 20 countries and more than 2,800 employees. Its specialty engineering thermoplastics and composites are superior in performance to metals and other materials and are used in a wide range of applications, primarily in the capital goods industry. The company is continuously developing new areas of applications in close cooperation with industry leaders in a wide variety of customer markets. The Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials Group is well prepared to further expand its market leadership position.

Growth Garage is a business accelerator program from Mitsubishi Chemical Advanced Materials. Our mission is to support and grow new ideas using our technologies and advanced engineering materials to help tackle some of today's biggest engineering challenges. We are offering the opportunity for engineers and innovators to pitch us their ideas and receive manufacturing support and services. 

Mitsubishi Chemical Europe

Mitsubishi Chemical Europe is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation. The company, with headquarters in Düsseldorf, offers and sells highly developed chemical-based products. The portfolio includes performance polymers, carbon fiber & composites, polyester films, aluminum and metal composite sheets as well as semiconductor solutions for a wide range of industries. In an additional role as regional headquarters for Europe, located in Frankfurt, it promotes the exchange between group companies in Europe and management in Japan. The stem of all activities is to contribute to the KAITEKI corporate philosophy, which strives for sustainability for people, society and the earth.

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