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Network Collaboration

Plastic Waste to Value Challenge

With approximately 8 million tonnes of plastic waste leaking into the ocean every year, urgent action is needed. Under the ‘business-as-usual’ scenario, the volume of waste entering the environment will increase by three times by 2040. This is largely due to the fact that more than 3 billion people lack access to adequate waste management systems leading to mismanaged plastic waste that is either burnt, dumped or washed away into the oceans. 

On 2 March 2022, 175 countries endorsed a resolution at the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA-5) to start negotiations on an international legally binding agreement to eliminate plastic waste and pollution in the environment, which includes the importance to promote innovative approaches and sound management of plastic waste.

Southeast Asia is a diverse region experiencing severe challenges related to waste management and resultant plastic pollution. The region accounts for around 40% of all mismanaged plastic entering the oceans. However, many countries in the region are cooperating to identify common solutions to the plastic waste crisis.

The need to address mismanaged plastic waste

The Alliance to End Plastic Waste, the Global Plastic Action Partnership and The Incubation Network have partnered to launch the Plastic Waste to Value Southeast Asia Challenge to address waste management and circular solutions in the region and to identify high-impact solutions around recycling and upcycling.

High-impact solutions for recycling and upcycling

  • The Program
  • The Criteria
  • The Offer

We are calling for innovative ventures that address plastic waste management in Southeast Asia with a focus around recycling and upcycling. Target countries in the region include Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Submissions should tackle one or several of the following focus areas:


Increasing the amount of plastic waste managed, processed and/or recycled by small and medium enterprises

  • How might the solution optimize the usage of technology for plastic waste management processes?
  • How might the solution increase the recycling of post-consumer plastic waste?

Supporting the operational improvement of plastic waste management and recycling in small and medium enterprises 

  • How might the solution use technology to improve and advance digitalization in waste management operations?
  • How might the solution improve traceability of feedstock in the production of recycled plastic?

Improving working conditions at small and medium enterprises involved in plastic waste management and recycling 

  • How might the solution support the upskilling of the workforce, in particular informal workers?
  • How might the solution promote environmental compliance?

Type: Successful submissions must be beyond the ideation or prototype phase, with a measurable track record toward impact and scale. Current UpLink Top Innovators are primarily selected once they’ve reached the pilot to growth/scale phase of their operations.

Stage: Priority is given to for-profit start-up companies or social enterprises with a sustainable funding model. Not-for-profit organizations with a clearly defined, revenue generating project may also be considered.

Scale: Innovations should demonstrate the potential and desire to scale, and have a vision for achieving long-term financial viability, impact, and sustainability.

Geographical scope: The solution must be operating or planning to scale in at least one of the target countries.

Cohort program: Designed by UpLink and SecondMuse

Access: Opportunity to participate in selected events, communities and projects led by the implementing and supporting partners

Connections: Introduction to selected organizations and networks

Visibility: Increased reach via the Alliance to End Plastic Waste’s, World Economic Forum’s and SecondMuse’s digital media channels

Grant opportunity: Participants will have the opportunity to win grants for growing their solution

Program Timeline

  • Launch date | 8 June 2022
  • Applications close | 4 July 2022
  • Cohort announcement | 8 August 2022
  • Kick-off event | 29 August 2022
  • Mentorship program | September 2022 – January 2023

The Cohort

  • Bank Sampar Bersinar

  • Envirotech

  • Kibumi

  • Plastic People

  • TerraCycle Global Foundation


Learn About Our Other Programs

  • Network Collaboration

    Ocean Plastic Prevention Accelerator

    We formed a social innovation ecosystem that addresses ocean plastic leakage in Indonesia. This includes conducting business acceleration, networking, and research with entrepreneurs.

     Learn more
  • Entrepreneur Support

    SCALE 100(t)

    We launched a program to support waste management companies to increase operating capacity and divert 100 tonnes of plastic waste by the end of 2022.

     Learn more
  • Entrepreneur Support

    The SUP Challenge

    This program is seeking to support acceleration projects through ESOs in South and Southeast Asia that aim to reduce single-use plastics in the F&B industry.

     Learn more