• WasteAid launches its Zero Waste Cities Challenge today in Johannesburg, Ho Chi Minh City and Guwahati
  • The competition is part of a programme to encourage a circular economy and inclusive livelihood opportunities in the city
  • Prizes of €10,000 will be awarded to two innovation solutions that increase resource efficiency and reduce waste, in the three cities

WasteAid, a UK based international NGO, is launching the Zero Waste Cities Challenge to find entrepreneurs with innovative business ideas that help reduce or recycle waste and create green employment opportunities. The competition is part of WasteAid’s Circular Economy Network funded by Huhtamaki, which is running events across three cities: Johannesburg in South Africa, Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam, and Guwahati in India. Two winners in each city will be awarded €10,000 and business mentoring support to help make their idea a reality.

WasteAid Circular Economy Network

Michelle Wilson, WasteAid Circular Economy Network Director said: “We are really excited to launch this competition in the three hubs today. There are already some fantastic examples of the circular economy in each of the cities. We hope that through the Circular Economy Network activities, and in particular the Zero Waste Cities Challenge, we can help entrepreneurs turn their ideas into reality.”

Currently, only a fraction of waste generated in Johannesburg, Ho Chi Minh City and Guwahati is recycled, and the remaining waste ends up at landfill or littered in the environment. WasteAid believes that local innovations hold the key to a green economy and can make the environment cleaner and healthier for the city’s population.

WasteAid’s Circular Economy Network is funded by Huhtamaki, a key global provider of sustainable packaging solutions.

Thomasine Kamerling, EVP Sustainability and Communications at Huhtamaki, said: “Huhtamaki is proud to support this initiative which will help fast track local solutions to the circular economy. This initiative complements our own efforts to design for circularity and embed sustainability in everything that we do, both in our local communities and across our global enterprise.”

WasteAid has already run events in Johannesburg, Ho Chi Minh City and Guwahati demonstrating the Circular Economy Network in action.  Tram Nguyen, WasteAid Project Manager in Vietnam said: “Building a circular economy takes many different people and businesses. The level of interest in our activities has been very high and we look forward to running more events, as well as this competition to identify and support innovative ideas for the city.”

The Zero Waste Cities Challenge will run over a period of six months. The application process is open until the 19 of June 2021. In July 12 semi-finalists will be selected and will receive intensive business support to hone their idea and create a pitch. The final round will involve pitching at a Shark Tank event in front of a panel of industry experts. These panellists will then select the final two winners. Awards are likely to be made in October 2021.

To find out more and enter, please visit www.circulareconomynetwork.co/challenge/

Circular Economy Network members come together to close the loop in Vietnam

About WasteAid

  • WasteAid is a leading international development organisation on a mission to tackle the global waste crisis. 2 billion people do not have their waste collected and 3 billion lack a decent disposal site, leading to the spread of disease and polluting the air, land, rivers and oceans. WasteAid works around the world to reduce waste and recycle materials, creating green employment opportunities and a cleaner environment.
  • The WasteAid Circular Economy Network is a two-year programme funded by Huhtamaki that seeks to amplify and fast-track waste reduction and collection/recycling solutions in three cities: Johannesburg in South Africa, Guwahati in India and Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam.
  • The Zero Waste Cities Challenge is a key highlight of the Circular Economy Network programme, which also includes events, training opportunities and a series of webinars to inform and inspire people, and help accelerate progress towards a circular economy.


About Huhtamaki

Huhtamaki is a key global provider of sustainable packaging solutions for consumers around the world, enabling wellbeing and convenience. Our innovative products protect on-the-go and on-the-shelf food and beverages, ensuring hygiene and safety, and help prevent food waste. We embed sustainability in everything we do. We are committed to achieving carbon neutral production and designing all our products to be recyclable, compostable or reusable by 2030.

We are a participant in the UN Global Compact and as of 2020, we received an MSCI ESG Rating of A, on a scale of AAA ─ CCC. To play our part in managing climate change, we have committed to set science-based targets through the Science Based Targets initiative. Huhtamaki has been awarded the Silver medal by EcoVadis for performance in sustainability.

With 100 years of history and a strong Nordic heritage we operate in 36 countries and 81 sites around the world. Our values Care Dare Deliver guide our decisions and help our team of 18,200 employees make a difference where it matters. Our 2020 net sales totaled EUR 3.3 billion. Huhtamaki Group is headquartered in Espoo, Finland and our parent company, Huhtamäki Oyj, is listed on Nasdaq Helsinki Ltd. Find out more about how we are protecting food, people and the planet on www.huhtamaki.com.


Download the press release


Zoë Lenkiewicz

WasteAid Senior Technical Advisor and Head of Communications


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