Announcing the Beyond the Bag Challenge Winners

Celebrating 9 ideas that are pushing the boundaries of material innovation and systems design as they reinvent getting goods from retailer to home.

In 2020, IDEO partnered with Closed Loop Partners and the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag to launch the Beyond the Bag Challenge, asking innovators the question:

How might we transport goods from retailer to destination in a way that is compatible with diverse retail systems, delivers ease and convenience for customers, and reduces environmental impact?

455 teams from around the world joined the Challenge, and after months of concept development, prototyping and iteration, we are thrilled to announce the winners of the Beyond the Bag Challenge. 

Winners represent a range of company stages, from early concept startups to more established, commercial businesses, within three broad categories of innovation––reuse and refill, enabling technology and innovative materials. Innovations were evaluated through the lenses of sustainability, business and technical viability, accessibility, customer experience and alignment with reuse and recovery infrastructure. The Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag is excited to continue building relationships with these companies and to work with them to advance and scale their concepts globally.

These teams will be awarded a portion of up to $1 million in prize money and are eligible for additional financial support to support testing, piloting and scaling efforts. Depending upon the type of solution, they will either be invited to join the Circular Accelerator, a program to further hone and advance their solutions, or begin product testing to improve performance, customer experience and more. IDEO, Closed Loop Partners and the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag will work closely with winning solutions throughout 2021, supporting design research, prototyping, mentoring or iterative developments toward piloting select solutions in-market.

If you are interested in following their journey, be sure to subscribe to receive updates from Closed Loop Partners' Center for the Circular Economy, managing partners of the Beyond the Bag Challenge and Consortium.  

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Reuse and Refill

High quality packaging that serves the purpose of today’s single-use bag, but remains in circulation for multiple uses within a user-friendly system. 

Bags as a Service by ChicoBag

By: ChicoBag

Location: USA

ChicoBag eliminates a common pain point for consumers: remembering your reusable bag. Their service enables customers to borrow bags on-site as part of the sharing economy.



Location: USA

GOATOTE’s kiosk system allows consumers to access clean, reusable bags anywhere a kiosk is found.

Systems-Driven Reusable Packaging Integration

By: Returnity

Location: USA

Returnity designs and manufactures reusable shipping and delivery bags and boxes for products already on the market, and provides the supporting e-commerce and delivery packaging system that power their use.

Enabling Technology

Enabling technologies accelerate the uptake of smart, sustainable solutions, opening up new exchanges with customers and working towards a bagless future.

Connected Circular Bag – CircularID™

By: Eon

Location: USA

Eon is a leader in IoT and created the CircularID™ Protocol. It facilitates data-exchange across the circular economy, for a transparent tracking system to understand how bags are being utilized across the value chain.

Fill It Forward

By: Fill It Forward

Location: Canada

Fill it Forward created a tag and app that connects to the reusable bag consumers already own, allowing them to track environmental impact, earn rewards, and give back to charitable projects.

SmartC: An IoT powered Smart-Tag/Bag System, and Beyond

By: SmartC

Location: USA

SmartC, a solution co-created by 99Bridges and Envision Charlotte, is powered by the Internet of Things (IoT) to incentivize shoppers with rewards in a fun and engaging way every time they reuse their shopping bags.

Innovative Materials

Pioneering sustainable materials that replace single-use plastic bags and bring value to customers, retailers and the recovery system after-use​

Strong, Lightweight and Stretchable – the Better Paper Bag

By: Domtar

Location: USA

Domtar is developing a new bio-based, recyclable material of 100% cellulose fiber, but with stretchable and more durable properties.


By: PlasticFri

Location: Sweden

PlasticFri transforms agricultural waste, non-edible plants and other renewable resources into valuable bio-based products. Their Starch-Based Compostable Bag offers a new bag alternative for consumers.

Sway | Regenerative Retail Bags Made from Seaweed

By: Sway

Location: USA

Sway replaces traditional plastic with a seaweed-derived material. Their bags are bio-based, and designed to be carbon-negative.

The Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag is a pre-competitive collaboration committed to reimagining the retail bag and creating a more circular delivery system. Unveiled in July 2020, the Consortium’s Beyond the Bag Initiative is an ambitious three-year undertaking that aims to identify and scale innovative alternatives to the single-use plastic retail bag. Consortium Founding Partners CVS Health, Target and Walmart committed $15 million collectively to the bold collaboration, with the goal of driving transformational change. The Consortium has welcomed additional partners DICK’S Sporting Goods, Dollar General, Kroger, The TJX Companies, Inc., Ahold Delhaize USA Brands, Albertsons Companies, Hy-Vee, Meijer, Wakefern Food Corp., and Walgreens, who have joined in its mission.