Each Case Study entry eligible to win the following:

  • First Place Overall Award

+ $2,500 USD

For This Theme’s Entries:

  • 1st Place: $4,000 USD
  • 2nd Place: $1,500 USD
  • 3rd Place: $500 USD

All Entries eligible for the Plastic Atlas Asia Insights Award: $1,000 USD if submission by 30 May

All Entries eligible for the Community Engagement Prize Award: $1,000 USD

Theme 1: Identify a city, town or village. Find a proven project that does a great job in reducing the amount of plastic waste that enters the nearby waterway

Numbers from the below two-page section of the Plastic Atlas Asia report “From the Rivers to the Oceans” speak volumes: Large volumes of plastic pollution entering from global rivers into the ocean are from Asian Rivers. There are literally thousands of rivers, creeks and outflows which send plastic pollution into the ocean in Asia. This is, of course, a global problem, as humans use too much plastic, with not enough capacity and infrastructure to capture it for recycling. There are many touch points where plastic waste can enter our waters via large cities, towns and villages along its banks and tributaries. 

Organizing a one-off cleanup day is great, effective, and a super way to drive awareness among volunteers and the public, but soon after, the beaches and banks are often refilled with a never-ending supply of plastic pollution.   This theme is not about once-a-year cleanups, or even once-per quarter cleanups.  For its Case Study, student teams should seek out a project or program that tackles plastic waste at its sources in East Asia, i.e., on land, and shows how it, if structured to succeed by or with local organizations, can be replicated and scaled throughout East Asia.

Solutions can include ideas such as the following; 1) better ways to capture (stop) plastic before it ends up as street litter and winds its way to the water; 2) community-based organizing and awareness programs that change how people use plastic and dispose of plastic waste; 3) proven technologies used by municipal waste collection and treatment departments; 4) how a municipality rewards and engages waste pickers as the last line of defense to pick up waste in the streets; and 5) and many other programs and projects used as tools to reduce, recycle and reuse plastics by cities, towns and villages along rivers.   

These programs and projects can be led by local government (driven by regulations or not), by NGOs (possibly with a company(s) in the area, or by the community leaders themselves.

With literally thousands of cities, towns and villages in East Asia, it is very likely that there are some great projects or programs that are effective – and these may be replicated and scaled to work elsewhere in East Asia, or the world.

For the Case Study, student teams will be tasked with “making the case” that the project or program selected could be replicated and scaled – telling their story, including the how and the why. It is important to note that a project or program does not have to be comprehensive or complex. It could be a simple solution that saves a few kilograms a day, but it could be scaled to thousands of use cases in a country, or, better yet, throughout East Asia.   For example, it could be a for-profit solution for an industry, for a government school system or program, for a waste management company, or through NGOs.  

The key to the Case Study is that the project or program selected has a proven track record, can be easily replicated and scaled— that’s the challenge for each student team.

Each team that submits a Case Study for this theme MUST use our Theme 1 Template.

Take a Deeper Dive

(from Plastic Atlas Asia)

These two pages are from the 2021 Plastic Atlas Asia report and provide a great overview of the problems of cities, towns and villages near waterways, i.e. rivers and the ocean.

Learn More about plastic pollution

and waterways

We put together a list of resources and types of projects to help you in selecting your solution, and writing your case study


Coming Soon

Types of Potential Projects

The PCC Codes (or Plastic Category Classification Codes) were developed for a report, funded by the United Nations and written by the Ocean Recovery Alliance. The PCC Codes are based on the analysis of 580 voluntary commitments made by global stakeholders from 2014-2018. Main Source:

For student teams, the PCC Codes should illustrate the wide variety of programs and project areas to search that stakeholders have used (as voluntary commitments) when tackling the problem of plastic pollution. In other words, fighting plastic pollution is not just about beach cleanups. 


Phone #:+852-3442-6301

or [email protected] (preferred)


Ocean Recovery Alliance

20th Floor, Central Tower,

28 Queen’s Road Central,

Hong Kong



Pictet Group Foundation

Collaborating Partner:

The Heinrich Böll Foundation