top of page



This challenge was the second open-innovation project for Habitat for Humanity's Terwilliger Center for Innovation in Shelter in which SeaFreight Labs served as Project Advisor.  The challenge launched to the public on 26 October 2020 and closed to new submissions on 25 January 2021.  It was presented as an ideation challenge with prize money of US$15,000.  It attracted 277 registered solvers from 59 different countries.  They submitted 59 proposals.   A group of 10 judges participated in various stages of evaluation to determine the 4 winning solutions.  Habitat's Terwilliger Cener announced the four winners on 27 August 2021 via Twitter.  The Grand Prize winner won US$6,000 and each of the other winners won US$3,000.  

HeroX Thumbnail Original for India.jpg

The Terwilliger Center recognizes the urgent need for efficient and effective construction and demolition (C&D) waste management as it would lead to impactful social, environmental, and economic benefits. Worldwide, the construction industry produces a tremendous amount of C&D debris every year, with one recent study estimating production of such waste will reach 2.2 billion tons by 2025. India, the country of primary focus for this Challenge, contributes a significant fraction of C&D waste to the worldwide total with the amount expected to grow exponentially over time due to rapid urbanization. The rapidly growing construction sector responsible for this increase in C&D waste production also has a rapidly growing need for building materials and it seems natural to look toward the C&D waste as a potential source for the needed building materials. Although the Government of India published rules in 2016 to address this issue, no significant adoption or progress has been made in the processing and utilization of C&D waste.


Habitat's Terwilliger Center, supported by SeaFreight Labs, seeks to address the roadblocks hindering the widespread recycling and use of C&D waste in construction. This Challenge focused on the first steps of utilizing C&D waste – estimation and segregation of waste material and the initial logistics of waste utilization in the construction supply chain – and the Seeker sought innovative ideas and concepts to address a wide range of topics within these first steps. There exists a huge potential to develop economically viable and revenue generating businesses in recycling of C&D waste for reuse in the construction industry and it is the Terwilliger Center’s hope that the results of this Challenge will help them foster growth and spur interest and innovation in this area, ultimately reducing natural resource use and keeping large volumes of C&D waste from entering the environment.


This was an Ideation Challenge with a guaranteed award for at least one submitted solutionThe detailed problem statement is available HERE.

Winning Solutions

The scope of the problem of construction and demolition waste management is massive and no one solution can work in all situations.  Also, there were a great variety of thoughtful and thought-provoking submissions.  Therefore, the Terwilliger Center decided to make four awards in the challenge. 

Being an ideation challenge, the Terwilliger Center's objective was attract attention to a long-standing problem in India and around the world.  Greater focus on the issue might generate needed innovation but would also bring like-minded individuals and organizations together to work on the issue after the challenge was completed.  People from government, industry, academia, trade associations and NGOs were all involved in the judging process and Habitat's Terwilliger Center intends to provide opportunities to continue work to positively affect the issue.     


The winning submissions were:

  1. Best Overall Solution:   "Advanced Construction and Demolition Recycling Systems".  This submission came from a team of 5 people in Pretoria, South Africa.  The winners were:  Henry Rothschild, Aksharaa Gupta, Junhyeok Yang, Manuel Maria Miranda de Andrade Veiga and Xuanxuan Wu.  Read the submission HERE.

  2. Most Innovative and Creative Solution:  "Solid Waste Recycling".  This submission came from Daniele Pereira in Brazil.  Read the submission HERE.  

  3. Most Sustainable and/or Socially Contributory:  "Where to Throw Out Construction Waste?".  This submission came from Zaifara Yakshigildina in Russia.  Read the submission HERE

  4. Most Technically and Conceptually Feasible:   "Suggested Methodologies for Segregation of Various Categories of C&D Waste".  This submission came from Navneet Samhotra in India.  Read the submission HERE.

Need more details? Contact us.
SeaFreight Labs is a consultancy delivering crowd-solving services to businesses and non-profits.  We serve as "Project Advisor" on global challenges to cost effectively deliver breakthrough innovation to intractable problems.
bottom of page