The Incubation Network launches open call for ‘Plastic Waste to Value Southeast Asia’ challenge

The Incubation Network launches open call for 'Plastic Waste to Value Southeast Asia' challenge

To tackle plastic waste mismanagement in Southeast Asia, The Incubation Network has partnered up with the Global Plastic Action Partnership and the Alliance to End Plastic Waste to launch the Plastic Waste to Value Southeast Asia Challenge.

Open for applications until 4 July 2022, the Challenge is calling for innovative solutions from ventures that are focused on plastic recycling and upcycling in Indonesia, The Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam.

The Plastic Waste to Value Southeast Asia Challenge welcomes submissions from small and medium enterprises, startups, and social enterprises that have developed measurable impact through scalable solutions addressing at least one of the three focus areas.

Changes need to take place at the regional level

Southeast Asia is a region that is currently battling the global plastic waste pollution crisis due to a lack of access to adequate waste management systems, leading to mismanaged plastic waste that is either burnt, dumped or leaked into the oceans.

The region itself accounts for around 40 per cent of all mismanaged plastic entering into oceans globally. This impact is a serious threat to global and regional biodiversities, communities, and industries. Without proper waste management infrastructure efforts and improvements, a projected 29 million tonnes of plastic waste will flow into the ocean every year by 2040.

Boosting innovative, scalable, and sustainable solutions to the plastic waste crisis

Following a successful Indonesia-based Informal Plastic Collection Innovation Challenge held last year, The Incubation Network and the Ocean Plastic Prevention Accelerator are focusing on sourcing cutting-edge plastic recycling and upcycling solutions from small and medium enterprises that will contribute towards reducing mismanaged waste in Indonesia, The Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. These countries make up the top plastic polluters in Southeast Asia, making them a clear starting point for action.

The Plastic Waste to Value Southeast Asia Challenge seeks to address waste management and circular solutions that focus on three areas: (1) Increasing the amount of plastic waste managed, processed and/or recycled; (2) supporting the operational improvement of plastic waste management and recycling; and (3) improving working conditions of enterprises in plastic waste management and recycling.

“For innovators to have meaningful impact, collaboration between the public and private sector must expedite the scaling of inspiring solutions. The Global Plastic Action Partnership looks forward to working closely with local, regional and global stakeholders to identify and support successful innovative ventures in Southeast Asia that tackle plastic waste pollution and promote a circular economy for plastics. As we move forward, the Global Treaty on plastic pollution will undoubtedly require innovations built on local insights and sound approach to addressing plastic waste and pollution.” said Kristin Hughes, Director, Global Plastic Action Partnership.

“Our success in enabling partnerships between innovative solutions and a wider network of corporates, waste management companies, social enterprises and more have led to over 22,000 metric tonnes of plastic waste in Indonesia being diverted in 2021. Building on our experience in conducting previous programs such as the Informal Plastic Collection Innovation Challenge, we look forward to rendering consistent support to scaling emerging solutions against plastic pollution to improve existing waste management systems and move towards a circular economy model for plastics,” shared Simon Baldwin, Global Head of Circularity, SecondMuse.

“Discovering innovations and solutions that can be scaled to urgently meet the needs of communities is critical to addressing the plastic waste challenge across Southeast Asia. Through our own experience on the ground, we have seen significant demand for practical solutions to collect, sort, process, and recycle plastic waste. People want to address this issue - they just need more viable options. The Plastic Waste to Value Southeast Asia Challenge is an important effort to accelerate solutions in this space, and the Alliance to End Plastic Waste is proud to be supporting this work,” said Nicholas Kolesch, Vice President of Projects, Alliance to End Plastic Waste.

The selected cohort will be participating in a tailored development program from September 2022 to January 2023 to scale their solutions through engaging with a diverse network of stakeholders. Along with partnership building opportunities and mentorship from experts in the waste sector, the cohort will receive increased visibility and access to selected events, communities and projects led by the implementing and supporting partners. The cohort will also have the opportunity to compete for grants to scale their solutions.

The Plastic Waste to Value Southeast Asia Challenge is led by The Incubation Network and the Global Plastic Action Partnership, funded by the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, and supported by SecondMuse, The Circulate Initiative, Global Affairs Canada, and DEFRA.

About The Incubation Network

The Incubation Network is an impact-driven initiative that sources, supports and scales holistic innovative solutions to combat plastic pollution and improve the livelihoods of vulnerable groups in waste management and recycling systems.

Part of a highly collaborative community of startups and entrepreneurs, investors, partners and programs, The Incubation Network works together with industry players to tackle key barriers to address plastic leakage and advance a circular economy. This includes sourcing and supporting, to scaling early-stage or pre-investment solutions and connecting compatible ecosystem players to reinforce the value chain in waste management and recycling.

Established in 2019, The Incubation Network is a partnership between non-profit organisation, The Circulate Initiative and impact innovation company, SecondMuse. The Incubation Network is open to interested collaborators, corporations, and mentors, looking to address plastic leakage and advance a circular economy in South & Southeast Asia. For more information, visit:

About Global Plastic Action Partnership

As part of the World Economic Forum’s dedication to accelerating impact under the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), The Global Plastic Action Partnership (GPAP) was launched in September 2018 at the Sustainable Development Investment Summit.

GPAP partners with countries and global partners to champion a shift towards a new plastics economy both by addressing the root causes of plastic pollution, from production to consumption and reuse, and by improving waste management efforts downstream. GPAP brings together governments, regional bodies, international organisations and businesses, as well as innovators and civil society organisations on an impartial collaboration platform with the aim of creating dedicated communities and driving positive change.  For more information, visit:

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