BlueTech for Waste Initiative

The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), through its innovation laboratory, IDB Lab, and in partnership with the Global Environment Facility (GEF) seeks to support innovative solutions that contribute to the sound management of hazardous Chemicals and Waste (C&W) to protect human health and the environment, and address climate vulnerability in the Caribbean region.


This initiative seeks solutions for the following priority waste streams:

  • used lubricating oils
  • used and end-of-life tires
  • used and end-of-life vehicles
  • used and end-of-life electronic and electrical equipment (E-waste)
  • plastics
  • manufacturing/industrial waste
  • organic and municipal solid waste
  • medical waste
  • hazardous pesticides


Solutions must be implemented in the following target countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominican Republic, Guyana, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago.



In 2022 IDB Lab in partnership with GEF launched the BlueTech for Waste Challenge. Six proposals were selected in October 2022 for project design. Following the successful completion of this Challenge, IDB Lab is launching an open call for solutions that includes a new financial award for early-stage solutions and an extended proposal submission window.


Caribbean countries, and in particular Small Island Developing States (SIDS), experience unique challenges with managing chemicals and waste due to their small physical size, high population density, limited resources, unique biodiversity, high risk of exposure to natural hazards and disasters, vulnerability to the effects of climate change, remoteness from global markets, and small economies of scale.


Major industries, such as oil and gas, mining, fishing,  forestry,  agriculture and tourism, trigger a series of similar waste challenges: (i) mining produces tailings that wash downstream, affecting water quality and health of communities;  (ii)  unsustainable forestry practices degrade the land,  leading to depleted water quality; (iii) agriculture and farming affect the land and waterways; (iv) fishing boats’ ballast water affects marine biodiversity; (v) ghost fishing nets negatively impacts marine organisms; and (vi) tourism activities can lead to an increase in solid waste generation, which is complex and costly to manage, and skew per capita waste generation rates due to the large influx of tourists they receive. In the Caribbean, the approximately (pre-pandemic) 75 million-night stays per year generated as much as 166 million tons of tourism-related waste annually.


Caribbean countries are faced with  the  need  to address  a  set  of  related common  issues and priorities:  (a) better management  of  land-based  sources  of  marine  litter,  including  the  potential  to  take  informed  decisions  on  the  phase  out  of  single  use plastics;  (b) better management  of  electronics  and  improved  access  to  recycling  technologies;  (c) reduce risks from pesticide use,  specifically  phasing out  Highly Hazardous Pesticides  linked  to  less  environmental  pollution,  to  lower chemical residues in food and exposure during application; (d) improved management  of  used  oil  waste,  e-waste,  pneumatic  tires,  and  end  of  life vehicles; (f) phase-out mercury containing products and devices in line with the Minamata  Convention  phase-out  deadline  of  2020;  (g)  the  need  for  improved  management  of  waste  streams  that  can  lead  to  the releases  of  Mercury  (Hg),  new  Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs),  Unintentional  POPs  or  marine  litter,  including Waste  Electrical  and  Electronic  Equipment  (WEEE)  management, healthcare waste management, and municipal waste management; and, (h) the need to reduce importation of hazardous material with appropriate alternatives.


The Caribbean private sector has a unique opportunity to benefit from the available financial support to continue undertaking environmentally sound management of C&W with innovative technologies and processes that follow a circular economy approach (returning the collected and recycled waste in the production cycle as a valuable raw material). This sourcing initiative is aligned with the IDB Group´s commitment to support greener economies in the Latin American and Caribbean region to respond to the challenges of the climate crisis, biodiversity loss, and related environmental issues. 

What are the awards for the selected proposals?

IDB Lab may consider the Applicants whose proposals are selected to receive financing to implement their proposed business model in one of the 10 target countries.


Applicants whose proposals are selected will also be included among IDB Lab´s network of global innovators working in LAC to exchange knowledge, experiences, and best practices, and may have opportunities to participate in networking events organized by the IDB Group and its partners.

Selected Applicants will receive IDB Lab/IDB and/or GEF funding once:

  • The proposed business model has been duly analyzed to obtain evidence of its viability;
  • The Applicant’s experience in the sector, capacity to manage the financial resources and project execution experience have been evaluated;
  • Availability of or ability to mobilize counterpart resources has been demonstrated; and,
  • A legal written agreement to use IDB Lab/IDB and/or GEF funding and counterpart resources towards the implementation of the selected model/project has been signed by both parties (IDB/IDB Lab and Applicant selected through the analysis process).


Applicants can request project financing via the following financial instruments:


a) Loan (Reimbursable)
- IDB Funding: between US$500,000 – US$2,000,000.
- Counterpart funds: Desirable, but not required 50% of the total project amount, half in cash and half in kind. Counterpart will be positively considered for selection.

b) Contingent Recovery Financing (Reimbursement conditions to be agreed during due diligence)
- IDB Lab Funding: between US$300,000 – US$750,000.
- Counterpart funds to be provided by the Applicant: 50% of the total budget, half in cash and half in kind.

c) Grants (Non-reimbursable)
- IDB Lab Funding: between US$300,000 – US$750,000.
- Counterpart funds to be provided by the Applicant: 50% of the total budget, half in cash and half in kind.

d) Technical Cooperation (TC) Prototypes (Non-reimbursable)
- IDB Lab Funding: between US$100,000 - US$150,000.
- Counterpart funds to be provided by the Applicant: 20% of the total budget, can be all in kind (case by case basis).

TC Prototypes are aimed at testing early-stage innovations and technological solutions with a rapidly executing, simplified structure (18 months duration, no more than three procurements).

What are we looking for?

The proposed solutions must:

  • Be innovative in nature and present a business model that has not been implemented before in the country or that adds an innovation component to an existing model.
  • Focus on reducing environmental pollution and climate vulnerability, thus, contributing to at least one of the following indicators:
    • reduction, disposal/destruction, phase out, elimination and avoidance of chemicals of global concern and their waste in the environment and in processes, materials and products (metric tons of toxic chemicals reduced)
    • reduction, avoidance of emissions of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) to air from point and non-point sources
    • reduction of marine litter.
  • Promote the social and economic inclusion of poor and vulnerable population; and
  • Contemplate a path for scalability or replication, as well as financial sustainability.
Who can submit a proposal?

Startups, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), corporations, NGOs, and others with demonstrated expertise in managing at least one of the priority waste streams mentioned. 


If your organization is located in one of the 10 target countries where the project will be implemented, you may submit a proposal.


If your organization is located in one of the 48 IDB member countries other than one of the 10 target countries where the project will be implemented, you may submit a proposal only in partnership with an organization registered and located in one of the 10 target countries where the project will be implemented.  The Caribbean-based organization should be materially involved in the activities of the proposed project. Project impact must favor one of the 10 target countries.

How to apply

To apply please complete the online application available on this site by clicking Start Proposal, within the submission round deadlines.


Please consult the Guidelines (EnglishEspañol) for more detailed information.


Please download and complete the Budget template (EnglishEspañol) to attach to your proposal submission.


For further information on IDB Lab project selection procedures, visit this website.



What are the evaluation criteria?
Technical Capacity 

Technical capacity of Applicant and strategic partners.


Degree of social and economic impact, targeting excluded groups and communities or low-income populations.


Financial sustainability and/or repayment capacity for loan applicants.


Viability of execution and risk management       


Level of innovation in removal and/or reduction of chemicals and hazardous waste/Use of disruptive technologies or processes.


Scalability or replication potential.

Submission Dates

Proposals will be received on a rolling basis, beginning November 1, 2023, following the indicative submission dates below. However, proposals will be considered on a first-come first-serve basis and rounds may be subject to change and/or early conclusion.

  • Submission 1st round: November 1 - January 31, 2024
  • Submission 2nd round: Feb 1 - May 31, 2024
  • Submission 3rd round: June 1 - July 31, 2024


Selected proposals will be contacted on a rolling basis.

Dates are approximated and subject to change.


*For more information, please visit the Guidelines

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