Circular solutions

How would your solution enable circular use of materials at any point in our value chain?
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Countdown visual


​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Trying to “do more with less” is a constant challenge for society. Earth Overshoot Day in 2018 was already reached on August 1, breaking a record. Our planet will have to absorb an additional two billion people in the next 30 years, and the entire population wants to live a good and better life.

For AkzoNobel, sustainability means delivering value for all our stakeholders. AkzoNobel has a strong track record of introducing sustainable coating solutions. It’s our driver for growth, innovation and productivity. We still see many opportunities for optimizing the use of material resources across the full coatings value chain. We will continue to do our part in the transition to a circular economy, while living up to both financial and societal expectations.

What do we mean by circular economy?

Traditionally paints and coatings are linear production systems capturing only obvious recycling opportunities. Waste paints – along with the substrates they protect – and packaging are often disposed of in incinerators and landfills. Transitioning to the circular economy could change that.

Transformation to a circular model is not the same as only promoting the recycling of paints and coatings. Circular economy means finding alternative sources for our raw materials, as well as extending the functionality of the materials in paints and coatings after their use. It requires a different mindset to recognize the potential for circular solutions, while overcoming legal and practical hurdles.

A value chain of opportunities

When looking at the full value chain for our paints and coatings products, we know there are many opportunities to close the loop of materials.

We strive to be resourceful, inventive and sustainable in enabling the circular use of materials and our products – and we need your help. Together, let’s find new ways to eliminate waste throughout our value chain; adopt alternative sources for our raw materials; or through innovative products, help our customer be more circular.

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Outside the can at AkzoNobel

In a cooperation between AkzoNobel and Dutch company Black Bear, used car tires are being harvested for carbon black, and used as a pigment in powder coatings. Learn more here:

What we’re looking for

  • Your solution is not just in your head. There is a clear proof of concept which is ready to be further developed for this purpose
  • It contributes to the circularity of materials without increasing other environmental impacts (such as climate change, biodiversity, toxicity, etc.)
  • It’s an innovative solution that impacts one of the following areas:
  • Use of bio-based or recycled raw materials
  • Reduction of paints and coatings waste, or high value repurposing


Have you got the solution?

Help us give paints and coatings an active role in the transition to circular economy, in a way that is sustainable and cost-effective. Let’s work together to close the loop of resources. What can you see in our value chain that we cannot? Have you found a new way to improve resource productivity? Will your solution help us offer competitive and more sustainable solutions to our customers?
Join us

We are closed for submissions, we will announce the finalists on April 11!


We respect ownership of Intellectual Property (IP). IP that you already own prior to the Paint the Future Challenge remains yours; and similarly, our existing IP remains ours. In addition, our starting point is that both parties should have appropriate rights in what we create together during the Paint the Future Challenge. If you get invited to the final of the Challenge, we will communicate clearly what specific IP terms will apply.


Whilst we respect IP rights, we also value the open sharing of non-confidential information, and building on contributors’ ideas. This is what makes the Challenge useful for all participants, and contributes to identifying successful innovations. This means that during the submission phase, your submission, and the information you share with us, will be received by us only on a non-confidential basis.