Greentown Labs Circularity Challenge seeks to advance innovation
Plastics are among the materials targeted by the Greentown Labs Circularity Challenge.

Greentown Labs Circularity Challenge seeks to advance innovation

This six-month accelerator program from Greentown Labs and BASF is looking to fund ideas in plastics, energy storage and recycling.


Greentown Labs, Sommerville, Massachusetts, a cleantech startup incubator, and Florham Park, New Jersey-based BASF, a leading chemical company, are accepting applications for the Greentown Labs Circularity Challenge. This six-month accelerator program is seeking ideas from startups with a proof-of-concept solution to enable circular economies in the plastics, energy storage and recycling value chains. The program is supported by Stanley Black & Decker, New Britain, Connecticut, a leading global diversified industrial and a customer of BASF.

"The circular economy is all about resource efficiency and implementing sustainable practices across value chains," says Emily Reichert, CEO of Greentown Labs. "We believe deeply in the impact innovations across the circular economy can have on our planet, and we are eager to see all the great ideas startups have to improve energy storage, plastics and recycling value chains.”

The Greentown Labs Circularity Challenge, located at Greentown Labs in Somerville, “offers a collaborative environment to creatively explore, pilot and develop disruptive approaches to circularity, joining forces between corporates at different positions in the value chain — BASF and Stanley Black & Decker — and the innovative startup ecosystem,” a press releases about the initiative states.

Selected startups will get access to industry advisors and mentors, business and technical resources as and physical infrastructure in addition to other benefits.

"BASF believes that the chemical industry and its innovations can lead the way in circular economy thinking and action," says Peter Eckes, president, bioscience research and regional research representative North America, BASF. "Yet, solving the challenges for a sustainable and circular economy requires innovation across the value chain to provide benefits to customers and suppliers, and in many cases may require completely new business models and partners. By teaming up with Greentown Labs and Stanley Black & Decker we have already initiated a collaborative environment and look forward to working with startups to explore disruptive ideas in plastics, battery materials and digital tools."

"Stanley Black & Decker has the reach, product innovation and mindset to be a powerful force for good, especially in today's world where so much is changing and being disrupted by technology and new ways of doing business," says Marty Guay, vice president of business development at Stanley Black & Decker. "Corporations like ours can be part of the solution, yet we also acknowledge the need to partner and collaborate with other recognized leaders such as BASF and Greentown Labs. By working together, we can harness our collective skills and imagination to deliver positive business and societal outcomes in areas of mutual importance."

The Greentown Labs Circularity Challenge is interested in applications that explore advanced recycling technologies for plastics as well as novel designs. Energy-efficient processes for depolymerization (including enzymes), pyrolysis or gasification to recover building blocks used in plastics production also are of interest.

In the area of batteries, the challenge is seeking new business models to improve the collection of batteries/cells after initial use; ways to optimize recycling of battery materials, including valuable metals such as cobalt, nickel, lithium, etc.; and new batteries that can be reused, repurposed or recycled more often and more cost-effectively.

The challenge also is seeking applications for digital platforms that enable new circular economy business models, tools that help simulate and predict recyclability and guide designs and technologies that support tracking and reporting of value streams.

Submissions for the program will be evaluated based on potential technological impact, strength of team and relevance for partnership with BASF and Stanley Black & Decker, among other factors. Applicants must disclose the status of any intellectual property (IP) relevant to their submission. Selected applicants' IP will be fully protected throughout the review process, the partners say.

Selected Circularity Challenge awardee(s) are eligible for a number of awards and benefits:

  • acceptance into Greentown Launch, a six-month accelerator program for startups at Greentown Labs;
  • $25,000 in nondilutive grant funding;
  • partnership with and/or potential investment from BASF by the end of the program;
  • access to select BASF testing capabilities, global technical facilities and expertise;
  • exclusive access to the Greentown Labs and BASF networks;
  • desk space at the Greentown Labs Global Center for Cleantech Innovation;
  • potential access to BASF-sponsored bench in Greentown's wet lab;
  • potential for joint ISO-standardized eco-efficiency analysis with BASF; and
  • the opportunity to connect with multiple stakeholders across industries, including BASF customer and special program affiliate Stanley Black & Decker.

Applications for the Greentown Labs Circularity Challenge are due by Aug. 30 at 11:59 p.m. EDT. More information about the call for applications is available at