To use products, they must first be created. Manufacturing consumes energy and emits greenhouse gases, with end-of-life scenarios like landfill disposal, incineration, or recycling. Kate Peretti from the U.S. Department of Energy emphasizes the environmental impact end-of-life scenarios have, especially on marginalized communities. Extending the life of goods in a circular economy could significantly aid decarbonization and domestic supply chains.

The American-Made Re-X Before Recycling Prize, launched by the Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Office (AMMTO), aims to transform linear supply chains into circular ones, promoting reuse, repair, refurbishment, remanufacturing, or repurposing before recycling. With $4.5 million in cash prizes and $1.1 million in technical assistance, the prize seeks to boost local job creation, and achieve national environmental goals while serving disadvantaged communities equitably.

The prize has three phases—Identify!, Prepare!, and Develop!with teams competing to design innovative ways to give products multiple lives. Administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, the competition emphasizes local collaborations, requiring applicants to identify community benefits and partnerships.

Competitors can address current or emerging waste streams, from electronic devices to clean-energy technologies. The transition to a circular economy requires a collective effort, involving consumers, businesses, and cities, which is why the prize is open to a diverse range of competitors, encouraging bold proposals for impactful solutions. AMMTO invites those with innovative ideas to contribute to the United States’ transition to a circular economy. Learn more about the opportunity here and apply today for the Re-X Before Recycling Prize. The application deadline for the first phase of this prize will be March 12, 2024.

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