Towards Zero Waste

How can your solution help us reduce waste at any point in our value chain?
Join us
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Countdown visual


Waste has been a key challenge to our society and environment.

In China, 200 million tons of domestic garbage and up to one billion tons of industrial waste are generated every year. In the 13th five-year plan, the government has been focusing on enhancing the regulation and inspection of all garbage and waste. The protection of the ecological environment continues to be one of the key aspects of the 14th five-year plan.

For AkzoNobel, sustainability is the key value that we bring to all our stakeholders. We continuously empower people to introduce more sustainable coating solutions. We drive our growth, innovation and productivity via optimizing the use of material resources and reduce our carbon footprint across the whole value chain to minimize the impact to our planet – all while living up to our financial and societal expectations.

What do we mean by “Towards Zero Waste”?

Traditionally paints and coatings are a linear value chain which ranges from product development, delivery, application to end users. There are obvious points where waste is generated, such as production loss, unused paints, samples, over-ordering, waste during application, paint residuals, packaging materials and so on.

Towards Zero Waste is not only about recycling of paints and coatings. It‘s about the consciousness to minimize waste and maximize the potential of materials. You can also think of the following (but not limited to):

  • longer protection and/or multi-functional paints 
  • more accurate prediction of paints required for a project 
  • digital color offering without sampling 
  • new generation of packing material or solution 

We know there are many opportunities within the full value chain which we can discover and develop together.

Looking for some inspiration?

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.

How can your solution help us reduce waste at any point in our value chain?

What we are looking for:

The China startup challenge focuses on solutions from and for the Chinese market.

  • 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 lifecycle of materials without increasing other environmental impacts such as climate change, biodiversity, toxicity, etc.
  • It’s an innovative solution in one of the following areas (but is not limited to):
    • Better management (reduction, handling, etc.) of paint and coatings residues, or reuse through recycling or disposal alternatives
    • Renewable energy use and energy management
    • Waste management and waste treatment
    • Packaging (new materials and innovative solutions)
    • Carbon footprint management or reduction
    • New paints and coatings application with less waste
    • Better use of raw material and/or new materials 
    • Longer protection or multi-function coatings

Be sure to also think about possible requirements that customers are not yet aware of. Your idea should help push boundaries and exceed customer expectations – let’s explore together.

Have you got the solution?

How can your solution help us reduce waste at any point in our value chain?

Together we can give our products and services an active role in the transition Towards Zero Waste, in a way that is sustainable and cost effective.

Join us


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.