American-Made Challenges


Re-X Before Recycling Prize

Seeking innovations to unlock new or expanded supply chains that can reintegrate end-of-use products into the economy before recycling
Phase 1: Identify! Winner Announcement


The Re-X Before Recycling Prize will award up to $5.6 million in federal funding and technical assistance from U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) national laboratories. The prize is designed to stimulate innovation and private investment in circular economy approaches that can transform waste streams into diverse, integrated circular supply networks and contribute to a robust, environmentally sustainable economy.

The prize is seeking innovations to unlock new or expanded supply chains that can reintegrate end-of-use products into the economy via re-use, repair, refurbishment, remanufacturing, and/or repurposing (“Re-X”) before recycling.

Today, the U.S. manufacturing sector predominantly follows a linear model of production in which raw materials are mined, transformed into manufactured goods, used, and discarded. To fully decarbonize the U.S. economy, the country must create new, circular supply chains to keep materials in use beyond a single life cycle. And while recycling plays an important role in this circular economy, approaches that extend the lifetimes of goods could save more energy and emissions over time than recycling alone.

That’s why DOE’s Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Office launched the three-phase Re-X Before Recycling Prize. The prize is looking for innovations that could keep materials in use beyond a single life cycle and increase the recovery and reuse rate of end-of-use products. Extending the lifecycles of these products reduces the embodied energy and carbon of manufactured goods, strengthens regional manufacturing supply chains, increases U.S. security of supply, create jobs, and reduces environmental burdens related to landfilling, incineration, and extraction.

Circular supply chains are complex with diverse value propositions, in part because end-of-use product stream compositions vary by region and over time. The prize is designed to support competitors to overcome these difficulties and help the country transition from a linear to a more circular economy, region by region.


The Re-X Before Recycling Prize invites competitors to work on one of two categories: established or emerging waste streams. Learn more about the types of innovations of interest to the Re-X Before Recycling Prize in the official prize rules

Prize Structure

The Re-X Before Recycling Prize has three phases that will run from 2023 to 2025. During Phase 1, also called Identify!, competitors will identify new or expanded circular supply chain opportunities and the innovations needed to realize them and deliver community benefits. During Phase 2, called Prepare!, competitors will prepare to develop their innovation. During the final Phase 3, Develop!, competitors will continue to advance their idea toward implementation.


Phase 1: Identify!

In Phase 1, teams will identify a new or expanded Re-X supply chain opportunity including its potential community benefits and create a plan. Up to 20 winners will receive $50,000 in cash. Winners will also receive consulting support from a national laboratory (worth up to $5,000) to identify analysis that could help maximize their idea’s potential impact and benefits.

To win Phase 1, teams will achieve the following:

  • Opportunity & Innovation Identification: Identify an innovation that, if implemented in a new or expanded Re-X supply chain, would deliver substantial environmental, economic, and community benefits.
  • Plan development: Develop a plan to advance the innovation from its current state towards implementation in a viable Re-X supply chain.

Phase 2: Prepare!

In Phase 2, which is open to new competitors, as well as participants from Phase 1, teams will further advance their idea and plan. Up to 10 winners will receive $150,000 in cash and up to $100,000 in technical assistance for analysis from a national laboratory that could inform enhancements to increase the idea’s impacts and benefits.

To win Phase 2, teams will achieve the following:

  • Deepen Insight: Leverage national laboratory expert analysis, consultation, and other resources to deepen insight into environmental, economic, and community benefits of the innovation, plan, and Re-X supply chain.
  • Plan Refinement: Based on progress made and insights gained, refine your plan to advance your innovation towards implementation in a supply chain.
  • Network Activation: Cultivate a network of mentors and partners to help advance the proposed innovation and understand how to increase the potential positive impacts on communities.

Phase 3: Develop!

Phase 3 is only open to selected winners from Phase 2. Phase 3 winners will demonstrate substantial progress towards implementing their innovation in a viable Re-X supply chain that will continue beyond the prize period. Up to four winning teams will receive $500,000 in cash.

To win Phase 3, teams will achieve the following:

  • Plan Execution: Demonstrate that you are advancing your innovation by executing your plan.
  • Network Development and Community Engagement: Cement ecosystem partnerships through community engagement to ensure you can implement your supply chain innovation.
  • Post-Contest Planning: Develop a long-term plan to implement your innovation in a viable Re-X supply chain and provide a compelling case that there is, or will soon be, sufficient resources to keep the effort going beyond this prize contest. Incorporate insights gained from analysis performed a national lab to improve your innovation and maximize benefits from realizing the supply chain.


Please review the official rules for the complete application process and instructions for competing.

If you want to receive updates on the prize or have any questions, please subscribe by using the follow feature on the HeroX platform or message us directly at .


Challenge Updates

ICYMI: Tuesday Networking Session

July 18, 2024, 8:05 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Moderator

Have you signed up for the Re-X Before Recycling Prize Facilitating Connections event? Join the prize administration team for an upcoming session where interested applicants from all backgrounds are invited to network with other potential competitors for Phase 2 of the prize. 

Register for the event.

During this event, we hope to help facilitate connections that will support the development of your circular supply chains innovation for the Re-X Before Recycling Prize.

Unable to attend the session? No worries! Applicants interested in teaming up with others in the Re-X space can also participate by completing the form from our Teaming Tab on HeroX. Fill out this form to get started. 

We can’t wait to see you there! 

Find Your Dream Team at our Facilitating Connections Event!

July 9, 2024, 11:24 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Moderator

Are you looking for additional partners to strengthen your Re-X Before Recycling Prize Phase 2 application? We can help! We are hosting an event to facilitate connections on July 30, 2024, at 1 p.m. ET to support development of circular supply chains for the prize.

Register for this event.

Our goal for this event is to help registrants form stronger teams, creating connections that allow for peer learning while increasing the likelihood that their Re-X supply chain innovation will be realized. The information provided on the registration form will also be available via the Prize Teaming page

We look forward to helping you find your dream team on July 30, 2024! 

Re-X Before Recycling Prize Phase 1 Winners Announced and Phase 2 Open!

June 17, 2024, 11:51 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Moderator

Phase 1 of the prize is complete, and 20 winners have each been awarded $50,000 in cash and $5,000 in U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory analysis consultations to help them refine their proposals.   

During this first phase of the competition, teams were challenged to identify a new or expanded Re-X supply chain opportunity and the associated community benefits of that opportunity, then create a plan to develop the innovation needed to realize the opportunity. 

Phase 1: Identify! winners are:

Bleckmann US LLC (Columbus, Ohio)

California Product Stewardship Council (Sacramento, California)

Circular Route (Austin, Texas)

Doors Unhinged, LLC (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)

Electra (Bellingham, Washington)

Jack Paulin Lamuraglia (Binghamton, New York)

Lifecycle Building Center (Atlanta, Georgia)

Llink Technologies, LLC (Brown City, Michigan)

Posh Electric LLC (Hayward, California)

RecycleBalls (South Burlington, Vermont)

ReJoule Incoporated   (Signal Hill, California)

Renewable Parts LLC (Humble, Texas)

RePurpose Energy, Inc. (Fairfield, California)

RESOLVE Inc. (Washington, D.C.)

Rochester Institute of Technology (Rochester, New York)

Rockwind Venture Partners (Rockford, Illinois)

Sankofa Lumber (Portland, Oregon)

Shorepower Technologies Inc. (Hillsboro, Oregon)

The Welman Project (Fort Worth, Texas)

Upstream Policy Institute, Inc. (Damariscotta, Maine)

The funding and technical assistance awarded to Phase 1 winners are intended to help the teams further develop their concepts during Phase 2: Prepare!, which is open to both returning and new competitors. During this next phase, all competitors will deepen their insight into the opportunity, refine their plan to develop their innovation, and activate a network of partners and mentors to help advance their proposed innovation. 


Phase 2 submissions are due Oct. 22, 2024. New competitors are strongly encouraged to watch a recording of the informational webinar to learn more about the submission process and explore the Resources tab for further help. Updated rules have been posted - you can find them here.


Congratulations to the Phase 1 winners! 

Updated Rules Now Published

June 10, 2024, 8:51 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Moderator

The Re-X Before Recycling Prize administrators have published an updated version of the rules document. Changes to the rules include clarification the recycling process and what is in scope/not in scope for the prize, modification of judging scale and weights for Phase 2, and language clarification on submission content and materials. 

See the updated rules document, located under the Resources tab in HeroX. 

Don't forget: Phase 2: Prepare! submissions are due on Oct. 22, 2024 by 5:00 pm ET. 

Questions? You can use the public HeroX Forum to ask questions and spark discussions with HeroX community members or email with additional questions. 

Other Resources: If you missed out the Phase 2 Informational Webinar, check out the recording and slides here.

Phase 2 Informational Webinar Recording & Slides Now Available

June 5, 2024, 9:14 a.m. PDT by NREL Prize Moderator

Did you miss the Re-X Before Recycling Prize Phase 2 Informational Webinar? You can now view the webinar recording and slides. Stream it now!


During the webinar, prize administrators covered details about Phase 2 of the Re-X Before Recycling Prize, including: 

  • Prize goals
  • Eligibility
  • Submission requirements 
  • And more

Additionally, prize administrators answered questions from the audience during the webinar. Still have questions? Email or post in the public HeroX forum to ask questions and spark questions with fellow community members. 

Remember, Phase 2: Prepare! is open to new and returning competitors. You can find more details about Phase 2 in the Official Rules.