Questions & Answers

Get answers to the most frequently asked questions.

What is The Alliance Prize in Circular Solutions for Flexibles?

Launched by the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, The Alliance Prize in Circular Solutions for Flexibles will award US$3 million to a transformational, game-changing solution that will support circularity of flexible films found in household waste, resulting in the extraction of a high value of high-quality fit-for-purpose recyclates from flexible films plastics. Such solutions can come from one or a combination of changes in business model, product and packaging design, approaches to collection, sorting and recycling or end markets for used products. They may also address certain components in the mix of waste, or be holistic in nature.

Who can participate?

The Alliance welcomes applications from organisations or entities that have a recognised legal existence and structure under applicable law (State, Federal or Country) and that are in good standing in the jurisdiction under which they are organised.

Individuals, government agencies, and Alliance member companies are not eligible to directly and/or monetarily benefit from the prize nor be the primary applicant. Organizations already receiving funding from the Alliance may apply with projects that represent significantly different concepts. Teams that include employees of the Alliance, Carrot, and any of their subsidiaries and affiliates, and immediate family members (spouse, parent, child, sibling, and their respective spouses, regardless of where they live) or persons living in the same households of such employees, are not eligible. Please view the rules for more information on eligibility.

What types of projects are you looking for?

The Alliance Prize is seeking solutions designed to extract a high value of high-quality fit-for-purpose recyclates from flexible films found in household waste. Such solutions may include adopting different product solutions, reuse options, collection, sorting/processing/recycling or end markets, addressing specific problems in household waste, or developing holistic solutions addressing flexible plastic waste.

Strong solutions will scale up to a potential impact of 20 kt/year of additional flexibles plastic waste recycling within the next 5-10 years. Strong solutions will be:

Impactful: A bold approach to extract a high value of high-quality recyclates and deliver immediate and recurring positive impact, and a concrete plan to measure value uplift and long-term environmental benefits.

Scalable: An exceptional, data-driven solution designed to effectively accelerate change at a large scale, with a team who is well-positioned to establish a model for communities around the world.

Feasible: A robust plan, evidence-based approach, and the stakeholder buy-in to overcome difficulties and become standard practice over time, led by a seasoned team of experts with remarkable success.

Innovative: A cutting-edge strategy that exceeds the promise of current best practices and a groundbreaking approach that will strengthen and transform circular systems and eliminate plastic waste.

How do I apply?

You must first assess your fit and eligibility for The Alliance Prize, then register no later than Tuesday, July 26, 2022 at 5:00 PM Eastern Time. Registration is required and is a simple two-step process. First, create a username and password, then check your inbox to confirm your registration. Next, complete the online registration form. Once you are registered, submit your application online no later than Tuesday, August 23, 2022 at 5:00 PM Eastern Time.

How will submissions be assessed?

Once the submission deadline passes, The Alliance Prize team will perform an administrative review to confirm each submission meets the rules and application requirements before advancing to the Evaluation Panel. Each valid submission will receive scores and feedback from five of our Evaluation Panel judges. All judges will use the scoring rubric, and all scores will be statistically normalized to ensure fairness.

We will review the top-scoring submissions and request additional information as needed to select up to three Finalists based on considerations that may include, but are not limited to, Evaluation Panel resulting rank order, diversity of solution type, organisational capacity, geographic diversity, and feasibility. The assessment of the Evaluation Panel will be used to make the determination of the three Finalists, and the Selection Committee will make the final recommendation for the Winner of the $3 million award.

What are the guidelines for submissions regarding intellectual property?

As noted on the Prize application and terms, the content of your application will be viewed by Prize team, sponsors, and judges, as necessary, and are not bound by a nondisclosure or confidentiality agreement. Please do not put any information in the application you would not feel comfortable sharing in that manner.

How do you define flexible films from household waste?

For the purposes of this prize, household waste is defined as waste material discarded in and collected from households that contains flexible packaging for food and consumer products, constructed from both monolayer and multilayer plastic and metallized plastic film in items including, but not limited to, sealable bags, stand-up pouches, wrappers, vacuum-sealed bags, shrink-wrap, sachets, shopping bags, frozen food stretch films, bread bags, cereal and snack liners, milk packaging film, bubble wrap, etc. Proposed solutions should not focus solely on retail, post-industrial, agricultural, horticultural, and/or mulch films.

Can you clarify your definition of circularity? Must solutions convert plastic waste into new plastic, or may they convert into other products?

For purposes of this competition, and in general, The Alliance avoids a narrow definition of circularity. The priority is to keep material out of the environment and landfill, and in a productive, material use with maximum value and utility for as long as possible. Any solution that can achieve this outcome would be considered valid, and would be judged on the basis of the efficacy, efficiency and scale at which this outcome can be reached.

Will you consider funding a proposed solution in the early, pilot stages?

Solutions in early development or pilot stages without results that demonstrate impact are unlikely to be competitive. Successful proposals will meet the European Union’s Technology Readiness Level (TRL) 6 or above:

  • TRL 6 - Technology demonstrated in relevant environment
  • TRL 7 - System prototype demonstration in operational environment  
  • TRL 8 - System complete and qualified  
  • TRL 9 - Actual system proven in operational environment

How can we use The Alliance Prize award?

The $3 million award will be provided to up to one Winner in the form of multiple milestone-based payments from Alliance to End Plastic Waste over the two-year project period.

Funds must be used for the solution described in the application, and may not be used for:

  • Directly benefiting Alliance member companies
  • Projects focused on circular solutions for flexible films found in household waste that are already receiving funding from the Alliance (organizations already receiving funding from the Alliance may apply with projects that represent significantly different concepts)
  • Carrying on propaganda or otherwise attempting to influence legislation within the meaning of United States Internal Revenue Code ("Code") Section 4945(d)(1) ("lobbying")
  • Influencing the outcome of any specific public election or to carry on, directly or indirectly, any voter registration drive (within the meaning of section 4945(d)(2) of the Code)
  • Making grants to individuals or to other organisations that do not comply with the requirements of section 4945(d)(3) or (4) of the Code
  • Undertaking any activity that is inconsistent with Competition Sponsor's charitable purposes or other exempt purpose specified in section 170(c)(2)(B) of the Code

How many prizes will be awarded, and are there other benefits to participation?

There will be one $3 million award. The winner will also gain access to mentorship and expertise from across the plastics value chain, which will help them tackle early development risks that may stand in the way of large-scale deployment.

All valid submissions will receive feedback from five Evaluation Panel judges to continue to refine their ideas. In addition, The Alliance intends to offer applicants the opportunity to be featured in a search engine of promising solutions for exposure to other funders and partners, including potential for future investment from the Alliance (separate from this prize) or Alliance member companies.

There will also be a public event in which the top finalists will present their solution to the Selection Panel with industry leaders and potential investors/sponsors in attendance.