A Contest to Develop Innovative Behavioral Solutions within the PREVENT Waste Alliance

In order to expand the behavior change toolkit of key practitioners in the sustainable waste management space – like the 200+ members of the PREVENT Waste Alliance – the Center for Behavior & the Environment (BE.Center), in partnership with the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), delivered a Behavior-Centered Design Innovation Competition, BE.Innovative. The competition sought to accomplish two primary outcomes:

·  Strengthen and further develop the capacity of participating Alliance members to apply behavioral insights effectively; and

·  Surface and spotlight new, behaviorally informed and innovative solutions to marine litter, e-waste and other pollution challenges

The two winning teams: CENN (Georgia) and Common Seas (Indonesia). Congratulations!

Congratulations to our two winning organizations:

Caucasus Environmental NGO Network (Georgia)
Plastic pollution due to over-consumption of single-use plastics
· CENN looked to alter plastic consumption habits by encouraging a reduction in the use of plastics, especially single-use plastic items in order to minimize plastic waste, eliminate pollution and maximize the reuse of resources in Georgia.

Common Seas (Indonesia)
Single-use diaper waste being thrown into the Brantas River
· Common Seas focused on increasing the adoption of reusable diapers as a way of teaching mothers with low incomes about the problems of using disposable diapers for babies, as well as the broader environmental issues, looking to prevent diapers being disposed of in the Brantas River, East Java’s principal water source.


The following eight organizations represented our wider group of finalists, and joined throughout the wider phase of BE.Innovative:

· Basel Convention Coordinating Centre for the African Region (Nigeria): Segregation of Food/Organic Waste in University dormitories
· Entre Amigos (Mexico): Separation of waste in businesses in San Pancho
· Making Oceans Plastic Free (Indonesia): The pollution of the environment by single-use plastics
· Pakam Technology Limited (Nigeria): Indiscriminate waste disposal in the city of Lagos
· River Cleanup (Indonesia): Diverting organic waste from landfill
· Small Island Geographic Society (Maldives): Reducing plastic water bottles in restaurants/ cafes
· The Rockstar Waste Services (Ghana): Marine pollution in coastal communities in the Western Region of Ghana
· Vertmonde (Ecuador): Environmental pollution caused by inadequate electronic waste management

What did the BE.Innovative contest involve? 

The program provided a unique opportunity for members of the PREVENT Waste Alliance to gain new skills and funding to support the launch of a behavior change program. Across a 6-month window over 2022, Alliance members were invited to:

  1. Take an online, self-paced course on behavior-centered design for the environment;
  2. Propose a project to apply behavior-centered design principles to an environmental problem;
  3. Have the opportunity to receive funding and join workshops to further develop ideas;
  4. Create and test the behavior-centered design idea in the real world;
  5. Share the results for a chance at global recognition and additional funding

Why is pollution a behavior change problem?

Our world’s rivers, streams, basins, and oceans are too often contaminated by waste of all forms – synthetic chemicals, plastics, e-waste, litter, nitrates, and fecal coliform. Behind each of these different sources lies a chain of people whose actions lead to the waste and pollution we see today. Therefore, changing behavior is critical to tackling our pollution challenges and improving water quality. We need to design solutions with people’s behavioral motivations and barriers in mind.

At the Center for Behavior & the Environment (BE.Center), we show why and how environmental leaders can leverage insights from behavioral science and design thinking to solve the world’s most pressing challenges. Tackling water resource issues, like marine litter and waste prevention, requires that the practitioner’s toolkit is multi-disciplinary and includes human-centered behavioral strategies that work in a variety of contexts. We want to help practitioners across the PREVENT Waste Alliance design more effective approaches to sustainable waste management and circular economies.

Entrenamiento Virtual - Diseño Centrado en el Comportamiento 26-29 de Abril 1

Contest timeline

  • December 2021: Behavior-Centered Design Online Course available to BE.Innovative participants
  • January 12, 2022: BE.Center optional coaching sessions open
  • January 30, 2022: Applications due
  • Early February 2022: Finalist organizations notified
  • Early March 2022: Finalists participate in a virtual workshop
  • Late April 2022: Finalists participate in a virtual workshop
  • Late May 2022: Finalists participate in a virtual workshop
    Note: BE.Center coaching sessions open throughout workshop period
  • June-July 2022: Testing period and reports due
  • August 2022: Winners notified
  • September 2022: Awards celebrations