Spearheaded by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with support from the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), the Ending Plastic Pollution Innovation Challenge (EPPIC) is an ASEAN-wide competition calling for all innovators to share their bright ideas for tackling plastic pollution with the world.
In 2023 EPPIC is implementing in Lao PDR and Cambodia. EPPIC provides an exciting opportunity for innovators to receive seed funding and incubation training to help them maximize their chances of success.
Objectives of the EPPIC Innovation Challenge
- While there is an acute urgency to combat plastic pollution, there remains limited knowledge as regards what solutions are most effective in making tangible impacts in reducing plastic pollution.
- Through this innovation challenge, UNDP seeks to solicit innovative solutions to plastic pollution. The following eight categories of activities aiming to address municipal solid waste challenges to reduce plastic pollution in the target coastal areas of Kaysone Phomvihane City (Lao PDR) and Sihanoukville (Cambodia) are indicative, and they strongly encourage all innovators to apply.
- They seek ideas that go beyond traditional waste management approaches and embrace innovative strategies to reduce waste generation and improve waste segregation, collection, and treatment systems.
- Suggested innovative categories:
- Sustainable Packaging and Plastic Free Alternatives
- Waste Collection and Sorting
- Circular Economy models
- Innovative Business Models
- Inclusion of the Informal Sector
- Public-Private Partnership
- Data Management and Monitoring
- Urban renovation and revitalization
- Ecosystem-based solutions
Challenge winners can look forward to:
- Top 15 Finalists
- 2-month incubation training
- Top 4 EPPIC Winners
- 9-month impact acceleration programme
- Up to USD$18,000 in equity-free seed funding each
- Opportunities to network with impact investing firms and other key development players in the ASEAN region
Examples of Solutions
- A mobile app that incentivizes boats for responsible collection, disposal, and recycling of plastic waste
- New materials to replace single-use plastic, including beauty/hygiene containers, uniforms, fishing gear, or Styrofoam
- Drone, data visualization, or crowd-sourcing tools to map plastic waste flow and increase collection
- Governance mechanisms to support municipalities in the enforcement of plastic regulations
- 100% recyclable, biodegradable, and compostable alternative products
- High-quality products that increase the economic value of recycled polymers
- Outstanding communication and behavioral change campaigns that change people’s attitudes
What are they looking for?
- EPPIC is looking for innovative solutions that contribute to the creation of a circular economy by preventing plastic waste and pollution at the local level, such as solutions that:
- Prevent the production and consumption of plastic
- Reduce single-use plastics and offer models for reuse
- Eliminate problematic/unnecessary plastic through redesign, innovation, and new models of delivery
- Decouple the use of plastic from the consumption of finite resources, particularly fossil feedstock
- Develop or scale new recycling process
- Educate and empower people to change their behavior
- All individuals and organisations are welcome to enter the competition, including businesses, non-profit organisations, and academic and public institutions.
- To apply to EPPIC, at least one member of your team must be a citizen of an ASEAN country: Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Viet Nam, the Philippines, Brunei, Myanmar (Burma), Cambodia, or Laos.
- You do not need to be a legal entity at the time of application. If you are selected as a winner in the EPPIC Final Pitching Competition in November 2023, however, you or your organisation must register as a legal entity in one of the ASEAN member states in order to receive the incubation training and seed funding.
- As long as at least one member of your team is able to communicate clearly and present the solution in English, yes, you are eligible to apply.
- The incubation training will include online courses, webinars, coaching, and mentoring. Field visits to the EPPIC challenge sites are also planned. Travel expenses will be covered by EPPIC for one member of your team.
- Teams/individuals that includes at least 01 (one) woman member are strongly encouraged to apply.
For more information, visit UNDP.