Novo Nordisk Presents: Circular for Zero


Novo Nordisk is a leading global healthcare company, founded in 1923 and headquartered in Denmark. Our purpose is to drive change to defeat diabetes and other serious chronic diseases such as obesity and rare blood and endocrine disorders. We do so by pioneering scientific breakthroughs, expanding access to our medicines and working to prevent and ultimately cure disease. Novo Nordisk employs about 43,100 people in 80 countries and markets its products in around 170 countries.

Providing our products to a global market also requires a global, reliable and sustainable supply chain consisting of a network of suppliers, production sites and distributors. At Novo Nordisk, we are dedicated to becoming a Circular Company, and a part of this is repurposing waste from our production sites. This innovation challenge looks at one of the challenges Product Supply is facing.

Keywords: Turning waste into a resource, re-circulating, rethink waste, circular community, nudging, behavioural design

Innovation Challenge:

The Novo Nordisk Green Transition challenge seeks to look into how we might recycle plastic waste from the production of prefilled devices, and together with partners, turn it into meaningful products supporting the UN SDGs. The factors to questions and solutions to consider include;

  • How might we together give plastic waste from Novo Nordisk production sites a meaningful second life supporting the UN SDGs?
  • How might we use behavioural design and technology to ensure efficient sorting of the different plastic types and colours in a production facility?
  • How might we guarantee effective quality control of the material to ensure high usability for potential partners, and investigate the use of recycled plastic? 
  • How might we solve another challenge and support the UN SDGs?


General guidance

The solutions should aim to be scalable and applicable to all production sites but can be adjusted to work in a local context. Production sites are located around the world ( e.g. Denmark, Europe, US, China and Brazil).

Guidance specific to the sorting of plastic types and colours

The aim is a create a solution for a production operator working in a 24/7 environment. A solution that is easy and intuitive to use, and ensures no risk of contamination of one waste type with another, when the discarding of waste is taking place.

Guidance for product development in partnership

The current types of plastic waste are PP, POM and PC-ABS. However, the primary focus should be on repurposing POM and PC-ABS, as recycled PP is already highly applicable in many industries.

 Products made from recycled plastic material must support the UN SDGs.

For further inquiries about this challenge brief please contact: 

Stine Platou Mikkelsen: Challenge owner. 

Claus Foss Henriksen: Mentor Email:

Thomas Harpsøe Bengtsson: Mentor Email: