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What Design Can Do is calling on designers and creatives around the world to join the No Waste Challenge, our third Climate Action Challenge in partnership with the IKEA Foundation.

This global design competition tackles one of the most pressing issues of our time: waste. From now until 1 April 2021, we invite creatives from around the world to submit innovative solutions to reduce waste and re-design the way we extract, produce, and consume resources on the planet.

Why waste? The answer is straightforward and devastating: our planet is drowning in waste. Every year we dump a massive 2.12 billion tonnes of it worldwide. And unless we make some major changes, this number is set to increase by a stunning 70% by 2050.

At the root of this issue is our current economic model, which is based on a ‘take-make-waste’ approach, in which raw materials are extracted, transformed into products that are used briefly, and then thrown away. This pattern has a disastrous impact on the environment. From causing biodiversity loss to accelerating global warming, our wasteful economies are driving us towards a climate crisis. But if we can address the underlying root problems and symptoms of waste, we have a fighting chance at building a future that works for both people and planet. Can design help us envision new ways forward?

While we focus on redesigning the entire system over the long term, we can also make an immediate impact by buying less stuff, making more sustainable products, and reusing or recycling materials. For this reason, the No Waste Challenge is looking for design-driven solutions at various scales. Proposals should be exciting, feasible, potentially scalable, and respond to at least one of three global design briefs, exploring ways for us to Take Less, Make Better and Handle Smarter.

Although waste is a global problem, the best solutions are often rooted in local contexts. That is why alongside a global track, the No Waste Challenge also offers additional tracks for participants in the following cities: Amsterdam, Delhi, Mexico City, Nairobi, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo.

The centrepiece of the award package is a global development programme which we have co-created with the expert guidance of Impact Hub in Amsterdam. Winners will receive a range of training sessions and tools focused on the skills they need to make their projects a success — from building a supply chain, to team-building and organization, finding potential clients and creating impact. Next to the development programme, each winner will also receive a prize fund of €10.000 to invest in their idea, as well as publicity and media exposure through WDCD’s communication channels.

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