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Circular Innovation Competition 2023

One of the highlights of the Circular Campus Programme is the innovation competition, where students pitch circular solutions that will help accelerate the transition to a circular economy.

The competition finals event was held on:
June 7, 2023 from 4-630pm PHT (GMT +8)

If you're having trouble viewing the video, try visiting our website from another browser or watch the competition finals event recording here.

Winners of the Competition

Top 3 teams chosen for the incubation opportunity with $2500 USD of seed funding:
UNDIP, Indonesia
Green Hub
VGU, Vietnam
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Photon Pioneers
JKLU, India


The top 3 teams will be invited to take part in an incubation opportunity, which includes mentoring and coaching to prototype their circular innovation and support with business development. Each incubation team will receive $2500 USD of seed funding.

Select teams will also be given small grants from CCAsia to support the development of their circular business ideas.

All Hands In
Image by Jasmin Sessler

Innovation Challenge

How can we use circular economy innovation to accelerate the achievement of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) goals, specifically with plastic packaging?

This programme will inspire students to innovate creative solutions for the circular economy of plastics.


The possibilities include:

  • Reducing or preventing the waste

  • New materials and alternatives to plastic

  • Recycling and reuse initiatives

  • Upcycling and creating higher value products


Students and alumni of the participating universities will have the opportunity to analyse the waste life cycle of plastic packaging and have the autonomy to tackle the problem they want to solve within this challenge area.


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May 9


To enter the competition, student teams must complete the competition submission form by this date.

April 9


Students and recent alumni of the participating universities (aged 18+) must submit the programme registration form by this date.

April 11 - May 5


Registered participants will receive invitations to attend our circular innovation workshops and webinars, and gain access to programme materials.

May 16 - June 4


The shortlisted teams will receive support in crafting their pitch for the competition finals event.

February - Early April


Participating universities promote the programme on campus to students and alumni.

May 10 - 15


Participating universities and the Circular Cities Asia team will review the submissions and shortlist the teams that will pitch at the competition finals event.

May 16


We will announce the shortlisted teams and email them with next steps to prepare for the competition finals event.

June 7


The finalists pitch their circular ideas to the jury and by the end of the virtual event the winners will be announced!

About the Top 10 Teams

Innovalove Pioneers
Monash, Malaysia

Problem identified: The widespread use of single-use plastic materials for food packaging in Malaysia has led to significant environmental issues. The country’s waste management infrastructure is insufficient to manage the growing volume of plastic waste, leading to harmful impacts on ecosystems and human health.

Circular idea: Develop and promote palm oil-based biopolymer food packaging as an alternative to petroleum-based plastics. This initiative would utilise a renewable resource to reduce plastic waste and support waste management efforts.

UNDIP, Indonesia

Problem identified: The generation of plastic waste (e.g. from food packaging) tends to increase along with the increase in population which can have a negative impact on human health and the environment. In addition to plastic waste, food waste is also a problem faced in Indonesia.

Circular idea: Create a food packaging film out of a chitosan polymer and graphene oxide nanomaterials which would function as a sensor to monitor food quality and prevent spoilage.

UNDIP, Indonesia

Problem identified: The rise of online sales in Indonesia following the pandemic has increased bubble wrap waste used for protecting and packaging goods. Bubble wrap is made out of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) plastic, which does not easily biodegrade and causes harm to the environment.

Circular idea: Create biodegradable bubble wrap from banana peel waste and then collaborate with online businesses and large e-commerce companies so that they use it as a substitute to plastic bubble wrap.

Monash, Malaysia

Problem identified: At the Monash University Malaysia campus, it is common to have mixed waste in the trash bins. Due to ineffective separation practices, recyclable plastics often end up in the landfill.

Circular idea: Develop a waste bin that uses sensors and AI to sort different types of plastic waste. There would be infrared sensors that collect data on the plastic, which would then be analysed via machine learning to determine the type of plastic and level of contamination.

Green Hub
VGU, Vietnam

Problem identified: Single-use plastic waste is not properly managed on the Vietnamese-German University campus. The university has installed waste sorting bins on campus, however, limited waste sorting instructions have been provided to students.

Circular idea: An app that can help people be more aware of their daily plastic use behaviour. It will also encourage users to use more sustainable items and reduce single-use plastic waste in their regular activities.

Let's Crush
UNDIP, Indonesia

Problem identified: On the Diponegoro University campus, students buy single-use plastic bottles and cups even though the university urges students to reduce their use of single-use plastics. Waste management on campus remains a challenge because there are no regulations on plastic waste.

Circular idea: Create a machine that shreds used plastic bottles and cups to prevent the plastics from ending up in the landfill. The shredded plastic would be used to make sellable products.

BPSU, Philippines

Problem identified: The plastic packaging life cycle involves processes detrimental to the earth's health. Although plastic is a high-performing material, it is not easily biodegradable and not all plastics are easily recyclable.

Circular idea: Create a web-based application that enables companies to construct customised and environmentally friendly packaging. The application would offer a user-friendly interface, granting access to a wide selection of eco-conscious packaging design models to make sustainable packaging practices more accessible.

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UNDIP, Indonesia

Problem identified: At Diponegoro University there are no canteens that provide free drinking water, so people on campus buy bottled water. After use, the plastic PET bottles are often disposed of rather than recycled.

Circular idea: Collect the used plastic PET drink bottles on campus and process them into 3D printing filaments that could be used for the 3D printers in various laboratories (electronics, control systems and in the mechanical engineering department).

UNDIP, Indonesia

Problem identified: A significant amount of plastic waste in Indonesia is produced at the household level from products that are used daily. For example, stores sell food and personal care products packaged in plastic sachets.

Circular idea: Turn the plastic sachet packaging waste into plant pots that would be used for plant starter kits. The plant pots would have a QR-Code system that provides information related to the plant purchased, maintenance methods, nutritional needs and the benefits of the plant.

Photon Pioneers
JKLU, India

Problem identified: Although there are initiatives at JK Lakshmipat University to avoid plastics, there are hidden plastics that end up being dumped in the waste yard. One example is CD ROMs (compact disc read-only-memory), which have polycarbonate layers.

Circular idea: Fabricate solar cells and panels out of plastic waste by adding a coating that will make the surface into a photoactive material.

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Programme Designers:

Suzanna Pomeroy, Director

Roleen Sevillena, Programme Manager

University Partners

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We’re looking for ideas with the highest potential to accelerate the transition to a circular economy.

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