Work with the Municipality of Rotterdam to create a more circular economy by upcycling waste streams from the city

Pilot project, access to network Deadline passed

Get in the Ring and Municipality of Rotterdam are looking for startups that can contribute to making Rotterdam more circular through improving the upcycling infrastructure within the city.


Rotterdam has a goal of providing 100% circular public products and services by 2030* and in order to meet this goal, we need to think of new and innovative solutions for the city’s main waste streams.


With 633.000 inhabitants, Rotterdam is the second-largest city in the Netherlands. The harbour has a great industrial/chemical complex and is the largest in Europe. Focused on the mission ‘’Think Global, Act Local’’, the municipality is looking for solutions to reduce CO2 emissions on high volume resident waste streams, and have the potential to serve as a circular input source for the port and chemical sector. Turning waste into raw materials could thereby reduce CO2 emissions and be economically profitable. Through the Low Carbon Circular Waste Management method, the municipality aims to impact all stages of the value chain, ranging from production and prevention to recycling and upcycling. The City of Rotterdam and the harbour are in transition. The Harbour stimulates chemical recycling and has a focus on food/biomass, textile and paper/cellulose.  Recently all the plastics and drinking cartons of household waste of are sorted off for recycling. for example, the company Loniqa who makes new PET-bottles out of PET-waste.

The deadline for this Challenge has passed, please check out our other Challenges


The Municipality of Rotterdam aims to reduce its CO2 emissions and adopt a more circular economy. Therefore, we are looking for solutions that can impact the waste streams of residents in Rotterdam throughout all stages of the value chain; production, prevention, reducing, reusing, recycling, and upcycling. We are focused on waste streams such as plastics, paper, textiles, biomass, and wastewater, which could be turned into energy for the chemical and port sector in Rotterdam. Example solutions include:

Prevention and reduction technologies

to reduce the waste from the start of the value chain. For example, technologies that can lengthen the lifespan of textiles, coatings that extend the shelf life of food, or biodegradable plastics.

Separation and recycling technologies

to be able to reuse waste and thereby become more circular. Examples include separation technologies for plastics, detection technologies, waste separation, technologies to recycle textiles, or wastewater cleaning solutions.

Carbon Capture Technologies

to create new materials/products and reduce the CO2 emissions in current processes of waste stream processors, wastewater facilities, or in the port and chemical sector.

Bio based raw materials

that are economically viable and scalable to use as input to produce materials, products, and chemicals. Examples include new materials from organic waste or using biotechnology to produce products from bacteria or yeast.


  • Pilot contract to test your solution in Rotterdam

  • Access to the city’s network of relevant partners; PlantONE, Municipal Water Treatment facilities, Port of Rotterdam, Waste processors (AVR, SUEZ, Renewi), (petro)chemical industry, food processors (Univelever, Coca Cola, Heineken), innovations (WastetoChemicals, Ioniqa, Urban Mining Corp, Pryme etc.)

  • Access to Rotterdam Unlocked; an online ecosystem event to stimulate collaborations within the city of Rotterdam

Additional Criteria

Your solution should

  • Have a working prototype or product ready for piloting

  • Be willing to work with the government of Rotterdam on the implementation of your solution and thus occasionally be on site.


August 17th

Deadline Applications

The deadline for applications is August 17.
Beginning of September

Announcement of selected startups

We announce the selected startups at the beginning of September
September 22-23

Unlocked virtual event

Selected startups will be invited for one-on-one online business meetings taking place online during Unlocked from September 22-23.

Pilot phase

The most relevant startup(s) will enter the pilot phase from October onwards
Deadline passed

The deadline for this Challenge has passed, please check out our other Challenges