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What is Circular Packaging Challenge

The Circular Packaging Challenge initiative is a European competition between startups linked to the field of the circular economy in which the most innovative and effective solutions will be sought to adress two specific challenges in the field of packaging circularity.

Its main objective is to promote the connection between, on the one hand, packaging companies and businesses that are part of Ecoembes (hereinafter companies) and, on the other hand, the most innovative startups at European level that propose solutions that favour the sustainability of packaging.

Circular Packaging Challenge will also promote the development of pilot projects that serve to test and scale these new technologies and business models in a real environment and verify their potential.

Phases of the initiative for startups

Circular Packaging Challenge will begin with the launch by Ecoembes of a call at European level to attract the best startups that can provide solutions to the two challenges posed. 

The participation of these startups will take place in four phases:

  • Initial application. Startups will fill in a questionnaire providing information about their organisations and about the solutions they propose in relation to the challenges of the competition.
  • Selection of finalists. Based on the descriptions provided by the startups in their registration forms, all the applications will be evaluated and the finalist startups will be selected.
  • Final event, Pitch & networking. The finalist startups will be invited to participate in the final event to show their potential through an elevator pitch. A jury of professionals made up of Ecoembes and companies from the packaging sector will be formed to decide on the winning startups. In this event, networking dynamics will also be organised so that startups can collaborate directly with participating companies.
  • Pilot projects: After the networking events, the development of pilot projects will be promoted to validate the solutions of the startups. These projects can be of two types:

o Open pilot projects (Ecoembes-startups). Ecoembes will promote and finance at least two pilot projects with the startups it selects, the results obtained in these projects will be public.

o Company-startup pilot projects. Collaborating companies will be able to offer startups the development of pilot projects aimed at testing the potential of startup solutions. The projects will be financed by the collaborating company, which will decide whether the results are public or not.

For the execution of the pilot projects, Ecoembes, the collaborating companies and the startups will be governed by the content of the agreements that have been reached, which will detail the financing of the pilots and the regulation of the intellectual property of the pilot projects, among other elements.

What challenges we pose

The challenges of the Circular Packaging Challenge in which the startups will compete are the following:

Challenge 1. Solutions for industry:

1.1. Ecodesign, sustainability, analysis and new tools for a more sustainable packaging.

1.2. Innovative industrial recycling and packaging technologies. Incorporation of recycled material.

Challenge 2. Citizen-packaging connection

2.1. Consumer & packaging.

2.2. Digital technology for the traceability and identification of packaging and materials (blockchain, IoE, AI, others).

Which startups can participate

All those startups that meet the following requirements are eligible to participate:

  • Be incorporated as a commercial entity or as a social economy enterprise (cooperatives, labour companies or special employment centres), less than 10 years old, specifically, incorporated on a date after September 30, 2012.
  • Its registered office or at least one permanent establishment must be established within the territory of a country on the European continent (Member States and observer countries of the Council of Europe: https://www.coe.int/en/web/about-us/our-member-states).
  • Not be more than 50% owned by a non-SME enterprise (according to the SME definition established by EU Regulation No 651/2014).
  • Not be immersed in bankruptcy proceedings and be up to date with its legal, labour and tax obligations.

Main benefits for startups

Participation in the Circular Packaging Challenge is free of charge and participating startups can access a wide variety of advantages, the most relevant of which are summarised below:

  • Possibilities of co-development and business attraction through direct contact with companies in the packaging sector.
  • Participation in pilot projects in which the startups’ solutions are tested, showing the results to companies in the sector.
  • Additional prize for the two winning startups in each of the challenges of EUR 5,000 for the first and EUR 3,000 for the second.
  • Recognition, visibility and media impact at European level as protagonists in the Circular Packaging Challenge.

In addition, at the time of registration at the Circular Packaging Challenge, startups will become part of the goCircular Radar community and, therefore, will additionally benefit from the advantages described on the goCircular Radar website. 

Startup evaluation criteria

For the evaluation of the startups, as well as for the selection of finalist and winning startups, the following evaluation criteria will be weighted:

  • Maturity and achievements. The maturity of the proposed solutions, positively valuing the fact that these solutions are already in a commercialisation phase, as well as the achievements of the startups that allow evidence of the positive evolution of their trajectory.
  • Innovation. The level of innovation used by startups in the development of their products, services or in the deployment of their business models.
  • Link with the challenges. The effectiveness for solving real environmental problems related to the circular economy and framed in one of the 2 challenges set in the competition.

Registration and deadlines

The application process is carried out entirely through the website of the Circular Packaging Challenge: https://packagingchallenge.thecircularlab.com

Startups that wish to apply can access the initiative’s website and register by filling in the form corresponding to startups, which can be found at the following link.

The deadline for submitting applications will be open until September 30, 2022.

At the time of registration, startups accept these conditions of participation and those of goCircular Radar, as well as the privacy and confidentiality policy of Circular Packaging Challenge.

Promoter of the initiative

The promoter of the Circular Packaging Challenge is Ecoembalajes de España SA, forming a transversal initiative in this organisation in which the Department of Innovation, the Department of Companies and, as managing entity TheCircularLab innovation centre based in Logroño participate. 

Confidentiality and privacy policy

Upon registration, startups agree to the Circular Packaging Challenge privacy policy regarding receiving information about the initiative’s progress. In accordance with this policy, there is a right to access, modify and delete the data contained in the registration form. 

Ecoembes, like its suppliers, will in no case make any private data public or share it with third parties. 

Ecoembes may share the information provided by the startups in their registration forms with the professionals of the collaborating companies that participate in the process of assessing and evaluating the startups. 

The participating startups will accept that their logo, name and general description of their activity may be displayed on the Circular Packaging Challenge website, as well as that it be disseminated through communication channels and social networks. 

None of the people participating in the communications within the framework of this initiative may make public the conversations and messages exchanged, nor may the information or documentation exchanged be shared with third parties or entities, being at all times private and confidential. For such purposes, “Confidential Information” shall be understood as all information, in oral, written, electronic, digital format and/or in any other type of support, communicated by Ecoembes, collaborating companies or startups, whether or not it has been qualified as reserved or confidential, within the framework of this initiative.


Privacy Policy Summary

  • I would like to receive information about this initiative.
  • My data will be stored in a database for this purpose.
  • We will never share your data with third parties beyond the initiative.
  • You can decide at any time if you do not wish to receive new communications.


Resumen Política de Privacidad

  • Deseo recibir información sobre esta iniciativa.
  • Mis datos se almacenarán en una base de datos para este fin.
  • Nunca compartiremos tus datos con terceras organizaciones más allá del equipo de gestión de la iniciativa.
  • Podrás decidir en todo momento si no deseas recibir nuevas comunicaciones.